Challenges with Sustainable Shopping

Are you fond of the greenery around you? Do you cringe at the sight of plastics all over your neighbourhood? Do you truly understand the gravity of climate change and are you getting restless to do your part? If your answers to the above questions are ‘yes’, keep reading the article.

Back in the old days, people shopped on special occasions and demand was much less, which enabled clothing manufacturers to balance the demand and supply. Cut to now, businesses have begun taking advantage of the growing influence of social media and have resorted to widespread marketing. Of course, in hindsight, we are enjoying an overwhelming platter of choices to select from. But, have you noticed that our growing demands is coming at a cost - The high cost by excessive use of hazardous chemicals resulting in dumping of wastes and pollutants into water bodies?

Recent studies show that we consumers are slowing shifting into the realisation phase and its starting to dawn on us, and we are starting to shop from brands who produce nature friendly products. Want proof? Check out manufactures who are constantly broadcasting they are “sustainable”, “eco-friendly”, “pro-planet” and what not! Why? Because they now know that we consumers have woken up to the true damage we are causing to our planet.


- Thom Browne

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While shopping sustainably is the way to go, it is often faced with a few challenges that get in the way of those who wish to do it right. Some of the challenges facing sustainable shopping are:

  1. Sustainable shopping is more expensive How many times have we wanted to do the right thing and have been put off by the higher costs that comes with doing the “right thing” i.e., buying organic and sustainable products? The reality is when you adopt processes that are slow and efficient and requiring manual labour, that comes at a cost, such as raw materials need to be processed responsible and labourers must be paid a minimum wage. And the true cost is then passed on to consumers who are faced with a dilemma to choose between price and planet.
  2. Sustainable products are not easily accessible How often do you go to a shop next door and buy a product off the shelf? Quite regularly. Since sustainable products are not based on fast production, their supply is limited and so is their availability in stores near customers. Hence, even when customers want to opt for sustainable options, the options available right off the rack mostly are the ones produced on a mass scale. Hope glimmers with the rising awareness and subsequent demand for sustainable products, but for them to be available easily to customers would take a while. In the meantime, we are forced to either wait or get their needs met short term with whatever products are at hand.

3. Are all sustainable products truly “sustainable”? As an end customer, how do we figure out if the sustainable brand of our choice is eco-friendly? How do we differentiate genuinely sustainable ones to those who simply ‘greenwash’ their way into making customers believe they care for the environment? Commoners are not privy to what exactly happens in processing units. This makes the right choice more difficult.

Thinking of all the limitations, there’s got to be another way! A way that will require us to make small changes to the way we choose and act. Like these simple things we can do today without breaking the bank:

  • Attempt to make informed decisions by tactically reducing consumption of goods, by reusing, refusing and recycling the products we already have.
  • Upcycle existing products and put them to better use and extend their lifecycle here on Earth than in the Waste grounds.
  • Get used to selling and buying pre-used products which will in turn have an impact on the demand we give to fast fashion and manufacturers.
  • Be more planned – If we plan our needs well in advance, we will have the luxury of time to find truly sustainable brands and buy products that are eco-friendly

So, wait no more! The biggest mistake we could make is to underestimate our actions. Your every action counts! Join the movement.

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