4 Ways to Make Your Weekly Shopping More Ethical and Sustainable

4 Ways to Make Your Weekly Shopping More Ethical and Sustainable

The following contribution is from another author.

We only have one planet. Unless we somehow learn to colonize the moon (which NASA believe is surprisingly probable and cost effective), it’s up to us to take the best care we can of this little blue marble floating through space. At present, however, we’re really not doing that good of a job. Every minute a garbage truck’s worth of landfill waste gets dumped in our oceans. We constantly pillage our rainforests for their land and resources, pump toxins into the atmosphere and accelerate ever faster to using up the finite resources we have while our population grows exponentially. A smart home needs to be a sustainable home and needless to say, it benefits us all to lead a more sustainable life. You don’t have to erect solar panels or farm your own land to do so. In a consumer society, arguably the best way to effect change is by making different choices about the products you buy.

Here are just a few ways in which you can make your weekly shopping more sustainable…

Rethink your cleaning products

We all want a home that’s clean, tidy, and inviting. A home that makes both us and our visitors feel welcome, happy and at peace. Don’t worry, shopping more ethically doesn’t mean that your home should be left to go to rack and ruin. It’s simply a matter of rethinking the cleaning products you use.

Many commercially available cleaning products have dangerous and volatile active ingredients like sulphites, ammonia, sodium and nitrogen which can be extremely dangerous to marine plants and creatures. While you’d think they’d be filtered out in the wastewater process, they very rarely are. Fortunately, there are lots of natural detergents on the market that use natural, biodegradable ingredients. From cleaning your dishes to laundering your clothes, there’s always a more ethical and sustainable choice.

Buy more veggies and less of everything else

If you’ve seen the documentary Cowspiracy, you know that animal agriculture is not a sustainable way for us to feed ourselves. Even if you don’t have a problem with the slaughter of animals for meat, or the forced separation of cows from their young for milk, animal agriculture is the world’s leading cause of air pollution, deforestation, animal habitat loss and ocean dead zones.

For a more sustainable, and healthier future, eat more fresh veggies and fruits and less of everything else.

Buy better clothes, less often

Fast fashion is quickly becoming one of the most worrying consumer trends as more and more affordable clothes made using environmentally damaging fabrics are cranked out by fashion houses. This leads to a disposable culture which in term leads to a whole lot of clothes getting thrown out (more often than not into landfill). While we should by all means look good, it shouldn’t come at the expense of our environment. Buy fewer clothes of better quality. Shop from boutique stores or buy your clothes second hand. Never throw away when you can repair or repurpose… At the very least give to charity!

Buy Fairtrade coffee and chocolate

Finally, life would be a joyless affair without coffee and chocolate. However, both coffee and cocoa farmers are traditionally exploited by the big corporations that control the means of supply. Allow yourself these daily indulgences, but make sure that you buy them exclusively from Fair Trade brands.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).