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5 tips to shop more sustainably

Making sustainable consumer choices needn’t be a hassle. Follow some of these tips, and you’ll dramatically reduce the impact of shopping habits on the environment.
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Tip 1: organic produce

Organic produce is subject to stricter checks and standards, such as regulations on the use of pesticides. Organic farmers are prohibited from using chemical pesticides and fertilisers, and livestock on organic farms must be kept in natural conditions and only fed organic feed. Did you know that food may only be labelled as “organic” if over 95% of its ingredients have been organically grown?

Tip 2: Regionality

Top-quality produce is only a stone’s throw away. So why pick products that have to be transported over long distances, polluting as they go, instead of supporting local farmers and avoiding CO2 emissions?  Food picked or produced locally goes straight on sale from the farm, so it’s still fresh when you serve it up. This means locally grown carrots, apples and other fresh produce can be harvested at the right time for optimal ripeness, giving them more time to develop their vitamin and mineral content and enhancing their quality. There’s also no risk of them losing their nutritious goodness because their journey from farm to table is so short.

Tip 3: Saisonality

If you buy more seasonable fruit and vegetables then you can help limit energy-intensive greenhouse production and support the natural crop cultivation cycle. A quick online search will help you find out which produce is currently in season.

Tip 4: Buy second-hand

Second-hand clothing is a great alternative to our disposable, fast fashion culture. Buying “preloved” items not only saves the resources and energy that would otherwise be used to produce something new, it also saves money as second-hand goods are usually cheaper. Clothes aren’t the only products you can buy second-hand. You can also find furniture, electronics and games for sale in charity shops, at car boot sales or on websites where people can sell their preloved items.

Tip 5: Ditch the plastic

These days you have heaps of options if you want to avoid plastic bags. A growing number of supermarkets are championing the use of paper bags for fruit and vegetables or are making it easier for customers to bring their own containers for sausages and cheese. Another great alternative is to bring your own reusable bag for bread and a cotton or cloth mesh bag for fruit and vegetables. If you want to take the challenge up a notch, why not try shopping at “zero-waste” shops where you can buy goods free of packaging, including grains, cereals, tea and everything in between. For any non-city-dwelling folk, you can pick up produce without packaging at many rural organic shops.