With supermarkets being so big these days and having so many options to choose from, it can be a bit hard trying to figure out what you can buy that’s sustainable. Luckily, there are some great companies out there that sell awesome, environmentally friendly products. Here are our top tips for shopping and living sustainably!
Local is best
Always look for labels that say “made in NZ” or “grown in NZ”. Products that are grown or made overseas are bad for animals and the environment as they have to get to NZ via plane or ship, which causes gas emissions, and workers overseas often have bad working conditions.
Bigger is Better
A small thing that will make a big difference is NOT buying individually wrapped products. These are bad because not only because they come in plastic, but because there is so much of it. There is plastic around them, and inside of that there is MORE plastic!! With yoghurt, you can buy a big tub of it, and then distribute them into small reusable containers instead of buying small individual pottles. With crisps or nuts or other snacks, do the same thing. Not only is that great for the environment, it's also way cheaper!
A more obvious one, always check to make sure the products you are buying, from shampoo to crackers, to see if the packaging can be recycled. Stuff that can’t be just ends up in the landfill for the next hundred years.
Reuse, reuse, reuse!
Recycling is an obvious way to become environmentally friendly fast, but reusing is often overlooked as it's not as big as recycling. It turns out that recycling isn't actually that good anyway - it uses a LOT of water... However, reusing is just as great, if not better - when you’re at the deli in the supermarket, buying some ham or olives or something, ask for a mini pottle. These plastic pottles can be washed and reused for all sorts of things - just remember to bring it along for your next shop.
Stock your cupboard and car with as many reusable products as possible - and ditch the disposable plastic stuff with no regrets ASAP!! One great thing if you or your parents like coffee is to keep a reusable coffee cup in the car or in your bag so whenever you feel a sudden urge for caffeine, you know you can drink it sustainably! Another thing is to buy some reusable bags - little tote bags can be folded up in your bag and taken out whenever you need them, or thick, sturdy reusable bags can be put in the boot of your car and taken out when needed! If you want to find some great sustainable products, check out the examples below:
DON'T shop till you drop
A big thing at the moment is just buying lots and lots and LOTS of clothes, like t-shirts and jeans, and then deciding that they’re not “fashionable” and buying MORE! Did you know that it takes 2,700 LITRES (yes, LITRES!!!!!!) of water to make just ONE t-shirt?! That’s enough water for the average person for TWO AND A HALF YEARS!! No kidding!! And it takes 6813 LITRES to make just one pair of jeans!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s okay to have a few of these items, but you don’t need a billion. Another thing you need to be careful with is washing. The average washing machine can use up to 170 litres per wash! If your shirt doesn’t smell yet, and it’s only had a few days use, it can have another day without being washed!! If you want to find out more about this, check out WWF's video How Your T-Shirt Can Make a Difference.