Have you ever truly considered the impact of every purchase you make? Most consumers see a product, look at the price tag, and buy it without a second thought.
However, with every penny we spend, we are stating what companies we support, and with that what behavior from companies we are willing to accept. With all the information readily available on the internet, it is easier than ever to let our consciences and ethics guide our buying decisions.
Your dollars make a difference in the world, so make sure they are making a positive one. Here are ten tips to help you become an ethical consumer, all without hurting your bank account.
1. Research is Key
Research is easier than ever and can help you become a more ethical consumer. In fact, thanks to Google, researching your favorite brands and seeing what ingredients or labor they use can be done with ease.
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You may even find out certain things you would have never found on their own company site! Plus, doing your research can help you find better businesses that care about their consumers, workers, and the planet.
2. Look for Labels
One of the easiest ways to stay an ethical consumer is to constantly check labels. Unfortunately, the majority of clothing is made in sweatshops nowadays, but you can avoid this by making sure the clothing you wear is either made in the USA or Canada.
In fact, there are companies such as Red Dog Sportswear, Cottonfield USA, and Fair Industry that work hard to earn their name as an ethical company. Also, you can help protect the environment from pollution produced from making such items by buying your items secondhand.
3. Make Sure Your Products are Authentic
An additional issue when buying products is that most ethical consumers cannot tell if they’re counterfeit or not. However, to avoid becoming a victim, check out online guides on how to differentiate between the fake and real ones.
The most common products that are counterfeit include jewelry, wallets, electronics, handbags, and watches. With your new found knowledge, you can buy smarter and catch a scammer in the act.
4. Learn About Labor Disputes
Labor disputes are key for acknowledging a business’s ethics. Walmart, for instance, has a history of employee strikes and disputes that define it as an unethical business.
In fact, one time several Walmart stores were closed without notice to their employees which led to payroll issues. By taking this information and applying it to your daily shopping, you can shop more ethically.
5. Shop Locally
Farmers markets are a great of example of shopping locally, which can reduce your carbon footprint and help support local businesses.
Plus, this reduces in business costs and pollution affecting each and every business in your community. In fact, shopping this way can help prevent excess trash in landfills and prevent further use of fossil fuels.
Recent studies have also shown that when you buy locally, the money you use to pay for their products goes directly into your community’s economy.
Plus, supporting your local farms can help the environment since they use less transportation to export their goods, which could lead to a massive decrease in pollution.
6. Bring Your Own Bags
Though it might be easier to use the bags provided by the store, it can cause a lot of harm to the environment. If you use your own reusable bags of reuse old plastic bags, you can decrease your carbon footprint by six pounds each month.
Keep them in your car or in your purse so you are never without a reusable bag when you need one. If you must use the store-provided plastic bags, try to find a location where you can recycle them.
A lot of grocery stores provide a bin for people to properly dispose of their plastic bags.
7. Don’t Forget About The Packaging
The actual product is not the only thing you need to pay attention to, you must also look at the packaging. Think about how much you throw out every time you buy something new.
Start by recycling everything you can. You can also avoid buying any products that come in a lot of unnecessary packaging.
8. Reuse and Upcycle Your Old Belongings
This is a great way to be a more ethical, eco-friendly, and savvy shopper. Reuse your belongings any way you can and upcycle old belongings to give them new life.
For example, rather than throw out old t-shirts, try to re-purpose them as pillowcases, bags, hair accessories, or anything else you can think of.
9. Boycott Unethical Businesses
There are tons of companies out there that do not care about ethics, and unfortunately, a lot of consumers do not care either. Businesses may think their consumers dislike unfair business practices, but not enough to skip out on a good deal.
As consumers, it is our responsibility to hold companies responsible for their actions. One of the best ways to do this is to change our shopping habits and boycott companies that don’t meet our standards. If people are not buying their products, the company will take notice and change.
Take a stand for what you believe in and hit these unethical companies where it hurts the most, their wallets.
10. Only Buy From Stores That Share Your Ideological Beliefs
Every store and company adhere to their own set principles and beliefs. Businesses, like people, take stances on important issues and donate money to certain causes or political interests.
In this way, businesses directly impact the community around them. Carefully examine the beliefs and choices of stores that you are thinking about spending money at.
Keep these beliefs in mind next time you decide to spend your money. This way, you can avoid supporting any businesses that promote causes you do not believe in.
How Will You Become A More Ethical Consumer?
Shopping ethically can help benefit your life, the planet’s, and the workers you buy each product from. Although one person cannot do it on their own if we all pitch in we can all make a difference that can reshape the world.
Remember, you don’t have to tackle this whole list. Even contributing to one item on it can help the world around you. So, take your first step today and make the change you want to see.