6 Ethical Shopping Tips Everyone Should Follow in 2016

This is a guest post from Edward Woodward. A writer at Kedel blog.

Have you ever analyzed your buying habits? Upon doing so, you might realize your shopping habits aren’t very ethical. Perhaps you buy things you don’t need, or maybe you’re  buying cheaply-made clothes that you’ll  end up tossing out after a few washes. There are conscious steps all of us can take to shop more ethically.

Start Shopping Locally

When you skip a trip to that big-box store in favor of a small, family-owned operation, you enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that you’re helping the local economy rather than lining the pockets of big-wig CEOs. When you shop at small, local shops and boutiques, there’s a better chance that the goods you’re buying were made locally or, at the very least, in your own country.

Buy Secondhand Items

Another way to feel better about shopping is to do so at secondhand stores, such as thrift and antique stores. By purchasing gently-used items, you give them new life and prevent them from ending up in a landfill. When you buy at a secondhand shop, you’re usually supporting the local economy and fighting the consumerist notion that buying new is the only way to go.

Look for Certifications

If you do decide to buy new, check for certifications and do some research on the manufacturer. For example, if you’re buying a cotton shirt, checking to make sure it’s 100% certified organic cotton means you’re not only helping the environment, but the workers who made the shirt as well. And by taking the time to research different companies and manufacturers, you can make sure that the product you’re buying is ethical.

Buy Quality

Plenty of us are guilty of buying things simply because they’re cheap. That “so-so” t-shirt is only five dollars, so why not? Well, that shirt will probably be worn once or twice before it falls apart. At that point, you can’t donate it, so you throw it away. Not only is it wasteful, but it’s also worth taking into consideration that the companies that manufacture this cheap clothing tend to subject their workers to poor working conditions. Buy from reputable outlets like Sam’s Club.

Buy From Ethical Brands

The Internet makes it possible to find out just about anything you could ever want to know about companies and corporations across the globe. When you come across a new brand that you’re interested in, do a quick Google search to find out what they’re all about. Make an effort to buy from ethical, reputable brands (such as TOMS, which donates a pair of shoes for each pair bought).

Speak Up!

You can do your part to shop ethically and make your voice heard. It’s one thing to shop mindfully, but until people begin signing petitions for more ethical work environments in manufacturing facilities, more eco-friendly manufacturing processes, and more ethical business practices overall, there’s only so much change that can be made. Reach out to your local representatives and politicians to let them know that you want access to more ethically-sourced products.

These are just a few ways in which you can make a conscious effort to shop ethically in the coming year. You might be surprised by just how much a difference your efforts can make, but be sure to spread the word to friends, family, and loved ones as well.


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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