Green Your Holiday Shopping
We do a lot of shopping this time of year. The average American family spends just under $1,000 per year on holiday gifts, and then there’s holiday food, parties, and decorations to top it off. After all is said and done, celebrating the season often adds up to a lot of stuff and a pretty big hole in our wallets too. Fortunately, just a few small steps can go a long way in making your holiday season, and every season, a little greener at the checkout counter. This month we’ve rounded up our top tips for making your next shopping trip easier on the planet and your budget.
- Make a list and check it twice. Plan your purchases before you make them by checking out online gift guides and consumer reports. Good research will help you buy products that will last longer and will help you stick to your budget. Plus, following your list will keep you focused when you hit the stores.
- Shop online. Why face the crowds when you can take care of your shopping in your pajamas? Online shopping is generally a little better for the environment than trekking to a mall. Delivery systems are pretty efficient these days and shopping online means you won’t be driving. So, less gas to buy and fewer fuel emissions, definitely a win-win.
- Give to the environment while you shop. Our friends at Nonprofit Shopping Mall have made it easy to give to your favorite EarthShare charities while making your regular online purchases, and with no added cost at checkout. Find EarthShare on their charity list to make a percentage of your purchases help protect our natural resources, wildlife, public lands, and more.
- Bring your own bag. You’re probably already taking advantage of reusable bags and totes at the grocery store, so why not bring your own bags to the mall too? While you’re at it, tell your sales clerks to hold off on the excess tissue paper and free boxes. You just don’t need it - here are some alternatives from our reusing giftwrap quiz.
- Plan your trip. Try to time your shopping trip for days and times that tend to have less traffic congestion on the roads you’ll be using. Also, it’s a good idea to make one trip instead of five, so if you have a lot of stops in mind, try to fit them all into one day.
- Shop local. If you’re close to a community or urban center, take your bike, walk, or hop on public transportation to check out unique finds from local artists and businesses. Spending your holiday dollars in your district can help fuel your local economy. And don’t forget to support your local farmers by stocking up on fresh produce for your holiday feasts at a farmers market in your area.
- Be a smart shopper. Not all “green” products live up to their labels. Do your research on products you are considering by visiting the retailer’s website, asking questions, and reading customer reviews. Look for Energy Star, Organic, Forest Stewardship Council, and Fair Trade certified items - these labels are monitored by trusted agencies and non-profits.
- Give vintage and eco-chic. Remember to check out your local thrift stores and secondhand shops for great and unusual finds. Bring along your gently used clothing and goods to make a donation too.