From swapping out your wardrobe for warmer layers to shopping for your favorite holiday meal, fall can often mean more purchases. And whether you’re navigating sustainable shopping online or trying to learn how to shop sustainably on a budget, we’ve gathered the tips and tricks to make fall your greenest shopping season yet.
12 Quick and Easy Sustainable Shopping Tips For Fall
Almost always, the most sustainable purchase is the one you don’t make. But sometimes, shopping is unavoidable. As fall welcomes the holiday season and a changing season, use these sustainable shopping tips to keep your autumn purchases low impact.
1. Discover the flavors of in-season produce
Fall is a fantastic season for local foods. And eating in-season, local foods is one of the most impactful ways to shop sustainably. In-season foods have a lower carbon footprint and they often taste better, too. This fall, use the Season Food Guide to find out what fruits and vegetables are in-season where you live. Then, head to a farm stand or local market to pick up your bounty.
2. Support local shops
This year, when you start looking for those holiday gifts, consider shopping locally first. Supporting local makers is a great way to reduce the distance that goods have to travel, and it often results in less packaging, too. For a double dose of sustainable shopping, look for artists that use reclaimed materials, or one-of-a-kind clothing pieces made with upcycled fabrics
3. When it comes to clothes, shop your own closet first
It’s natural to look for some new layers as the seasons change. But before you head to the mall, take a peek at what you already own. Try layering summer tops with light sweaters for a new, seasonally appropriate look. Mend older items in need of repair. And over time, focus on filling your closet with durable, timeless pieces of clothing. Classic accessories like a well-made hat can last for decades.
4. Choose natural or recycled materials
Here’s a sustainable shopping tip to live by, no matter the time of year. If you are buying something new, look for natural, biodegradable materials. Cruelty-free wool, organic cotton, and hemp are planet-friendly fibers. These materials require little to no use of pesticides, and they aren’t made of petroleum-based fibers. If you are purchasing something made of synthetic fibers, look for recycled options. Recycled plastic bottle fabric is a lower-impact alternative for waterproof items.
5. Make sustainable shopping online easier with GoodOnYou
Online shopping can often be difficult, especially if you’re trying to find an eco-friendly option. With the boom of greenwashing, many not-so-sustainable brands are marketing themselves as green. GoodOnYou is a third-party organization that rates brands based on their social and environmental impact. Browse brands they rate as ‘good’ or ‘great’ before you go sustainable shopping online next.
6. Browse your favorite second-hand shop
Looking for seasonal decorations, Halloween costumes, or a new favorite sweater? Stop by a consignment shop or thrift store. Buying used items helps keep perfectly good things out of the landfill. And if you’re purchasing something that you’ll only use for the fall season, it can save you money, too. Plus, you just might be surprised by what you find! Learning how to shop sustainably on a budget is easier than you think.
7. Purchase clothing items that can transition into winter and spring
Fast fashion is one of the biggest causes of excessive waste. The average piece of clothing is only worn seven times before it’s thrown out. To combat clothing waste, buy items that can be worn for multiple seasons. For fall, consider a neutral-toned hat in a classic style. Materials like cruelty-free wool or weathered cotton are perfect for multiple seasons. They’re warm for fall and winter and water-resistant for spring showers.
8. Support B Corp and 1% For The Planet businesses
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of so-called sustainable businesses. This fall, look for certifications that showcase a brands values. B Corp businesses are required to show a high level of transparency. And, they are rated and approved based on how their business leaves a positive impact on the environment, their workers, and society. 1% For The Planet businesses donate 1% of their sales to non-profit organizations that are working towards a cleaner Earth.
9. Look for products that are consciously packaged
Seemingly small details like packaging have a lot to do with sustainability. After all, the average product is wrapped in plastic, styrofoam, and other materials that will never decompose. If fact, packaging waste accounts for more than 82 million tons of waste each year. So, choosing products that are packed in plastic-free materials can make a big difference.
10. Fight the urge to impulse buy
We’ve all done it– we see something we just “have” to get, and we rush to the register immediately. But these impulse purchases are more likely to end up in landfills or giveaway boxes. To avoid buying something that you don’t really need, try waiting a day or two before purchasing anything new. Or, make a pros and cons list for big purchases.
11. Set up a fall swap with friends and family
Who says that sustainable shopping has to be done at a store? This fall, set up your own shopping mall with friends and family. Each person can bring items they’re ready to say goodbye to. And at the swap, everyone can find something new (to them), without buying anything at all. By trading items, you can get a closet or home refresh while helping someone else declutter.
12. Invest in reusable products
Using what you have is a fantastic (and free) way to be eco-friendly. But if you’re in need of a replacement, look for a reusable option. From bamboo straws to reusable razors, making your daily routine as single-use-free as possible is a great goal for the fall. Reusable items save trash from gathering in landfills, and they often save you money over time, too. If you’re not sure where to start, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle to use instead of single-use plastic bottles.
Did these sustainable shopping tips help make your fall a little more low waste? Keep learning about sustainable fashion with our guide to sustainable hat shopping!