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How to Be a More Sustainable Online Shopper

Online shopping can be pretty convenient; it offers endless options at competitive prices, next-day deliveries and returns policies that make us think short-term. Seldom do we take a minute to think about our online purchases and the potential damage it could be causing the environment. The impact of the click is far greater than we can envision. 

Key Takeaways:

As consumers, we’ve been conditioned to pass the blame and responsibility of sustainability onto brands and retailers, but it goes both ways. At the end of the day, we’re the ones investing in those items that will not only feed our necessities but shape the environmental landscape for generations to come. 

Ahead, we’ve listed some easy conscious prompts that can help you make sustainable choices online. 

1. Do You Really Need It?

According to recent research by Aviva UK, 36% of consumers have become bigger spenders during the period of lockdown. An article in The Guardian argues that impulse buys are an act of comfort-buying: an emotional fix to help soften the depression and anxiety many of us are experiencing right now. 

“Buying less, but better,” is one of the very core beliefs of sustainability and impulse purchases go against that. 

What’s more? Dissatisfactory impulse purchases end up getting returned, of which a whopping 20% of these online returns end up in landfill because they are unable to be resold by the retailer. The next time you find yourself mindlessly window-shopping digitally, it would be best to take a step back and ask yourself if it's really necessary.

2. Is It Made Sustainably?

Clothes aren’t the only thing that are in need of sustainable considerations; it also extends to shoes, bags, skincare, cosmetics, and even your groceries. These are the things we touch upon every day that greatly impact the world around us, which is why it’s even more important to make sure that they are made sustainably. Avoiding single-use plastic packaging, non-biodegradable materials and instead opting for products that are reusable, refillable and are made from organic or eco-conscious materials is key. 

3. How Do They Pack Your Products?

86 million tons of plastic packaging is produced globally each year but less than 14 % of it is recycled. The majority of it makes its way to landfills or gets incinerated, or is left to pollute waterways and poison wildlife. 

Plastic pollution

(Image courtesy: Forbes)

Owing to the recent surge in online sales, Technavio, a market research firm, estimates that demand for filled-air products (bubble-wrapped) are poised to swell by $1.16 billion between 2020 and 2024. If these hard facts are any indication, it’s that we should all take the initiative to research the delivery methods of our favourite brands and question them about their packaging habits.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-03-01

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