How to reduce your carbon footprint when you shop

Everything you buy inevitably produces greenhouse gases. Reducing how much you buy and carefully choosing what you buy is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and increase that number in your bank account.

Already know about this? Head straight to our calculator

Slow Fashion

Slow fashion is – you guessed it – the opposite of the fast fashion model introduced around 20 years ago. It’s all about buying well sourced, better-quality clothes that will last longer and not have such a detrimental effect on our planet. Extending the lifespan of the average item of clothing by just three months could result in a reduction of 5% to 10% of carbon, waste, and water of the item.

Buy from sustainable brands

There are so many great new brands emerging that focus on high-quality, long-lasting, and environmentally-friendly products. They also fight against the horrendous, exploitative working conditions enforced by major fast fashion brands. The way we spend our money sends signals throughout the economy about the values we hold. It’s simple supply and demand; the more you buy from environmentally sustainable brands and question those that are destroying our environment, the more pressure you put on businesses to act. Not only does investing in sustainable fashion help the environment, it can also make material differences for the lives of workers.

Even better, there are tools available to make these brands easy to find and easy to browse such as Project Cece. Garments might cost a little more, but they will last a lot longer, and just like good style, good choices never go out of fashion.

Second hand shops

One person's trash is another's treasure! There are so many second hand and charity shops out there, why not discover the thrill of finding a one-off bargain? They have great deals and good quality clothing, plus your purchase stops new clothes being made and old clothes ending up in landfill. You can also donate your own clothes, helping the charity shop itself make money for a good cause.

Recycle and Upcycle

We’ve all been there; the button of a shirt pops off, your phone’s out of date, your chair leg breaks. Our impulse is to replace these things, and often we’re too impatient to wait. But learning to make do and mend stops that busted shirt/dodgy phone/wonky chair ending up in landfill. There are hundreds of tailors, fixer-uppers, carpenters and craftspeople you can outsource these tasks to, but there’s a certain satisfaction in mending something yourself. Even better, try to buy things that will not easily break or need replacing in the first place. They may cost a little more, but they will last a lot longer and save you buying new ones all the time.

When you do need to throw something away, make sure you recycle it. In most cases, the majority of the damaged product is totally functional. Someone out there will be able to repair it or use it for another purpose. Landfill is not the way!

And remember, there are loads of upcycling websites and apps like Gumtree and Craigslist. Sometimes you can find what you want for free!

Once you have reduced as much as you can head to our calculator and see how much impact your spending has on your yearly carbon footprint.

Looking for more tips and tricks? Check out 10 ways to reduce the carbon footrpint of your shopping.