How To Be A Sustainable Shopper: A Guide For The Holidays

It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season, but it’s also important to make sure you are being mindful of what you’re purchasing and where your purchases are coming from. Here is your guide on how to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season-from local products, eco-friendly gifts to fair trade merchandise.

Local Products

The holidays are a time to spread the holiday spirit, but they are also a great opportunity to support local businesses. Local products have multiple benefits for consumers and the environment. By supporting local artists, artisans and farmers, you are keeping money in your community-ensuring that this money is recycled within your city again and again. This will help the local economy grow while reducing the harmful effects of globalization on economically developing countries.

Eco-Friendly Gifts

The best way to be eco-friendly this holiday season is to give eco-friendly gifts. According to Global Exchange, “the demand for organic cotton has doubled every year since 1990, with over 20 million acres of organic cotton harvested worldwide in 2010.” Buying eco-friendly gifts can be done in a variety of ways, but one way to find out is to look for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) label. This ensures that the product has been produced using organic methods and was not tested on animals. Another way you can be sure your gift is eco-friendly is to look on the product’s packaging for the “USDA Organic” label, which certifies that your gift was made with at least 95% organic ingredients.

Fair Trade Merchandise

Another way to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by purchasing fair trade merchandise. The World Fair Trade Organization states, “Fair trade is about improving the quality of life for farmers and workers, both locally within communities and internationally by providing better trading conditions.” Fair trade prevents child labor, forced labor and sexual harassment. You can find fair trade products at your nearest Whole Foods Market or other specialty stores that sell handmade artisan goods.

Recycling Ideas for the Holidays

The holidays are a great time to recycle. You can reuse or re-gift any unwanted items that you may have around the house. One of the easiest ways to recycle is by re-gifting, which can be done through websites such as Wrapp and Upcycled Personal Shopper . This way you will have the chance to recycle your gifts while also saving money by not having to purchase any additional gifts. One way you can re-gift is through the website Wrapp, which lets you send a free digital gift card to your email recipients in 5 minutes or less.

Tips on How to Be a Sustainable Shopper This Holiday Season (and Beyond)

Travel Local –

In order to be a sustainable shopper, you must first travel local. This is one of the easiest ways to support your community and the environment. Not only is it good for the economy, but it also reduces carbon emissions from vehicles that are used for traveling between cities. Riding a bike or carpooling to your local stores can be a great way to reduce emissions. Another way you can travel local is by walking or riding your bike to the store.

Buy What You Need –

It is important for consumers to buy only what they need and not fall into the “retail trap.” According to Global Exchange, “Americans spend an average of $1,100 a year on holiday gifts. Those who pay attention to the true cost of their items and buy what they need will help keep money in local communities instead of enriching multinational corporations.” A way you can avoid the retail trap is by sticking to your Christmas list and not buying any extras or unneeded products. Another way to avoid retail traps is by not giving gifts to everyone. Instead of sending a gift basket or an expensive holiday plate, consider donating to a charity instead.

Gift Experiences –

Another way to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by purchasing experiences rather than just any products. Global Exchange states that “the social and environmental benefits of sharing an experience is worth up to ten times more than the value of a material item.” This is because experiences bring people together and create memories that last a lifetime. Another way to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by giving homemade gifts like handicrafts and baked goods.

Saving Energy –

Another way to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by saving energy. Global Exchange states, “Lighting uses a great deal of electricity, so use timers and power strips to maximize their efficiency.” Another way you can be sustainable this holiday season is by installing LED light bulbs in your home to save money on your electric bill.

Trees –

In order to be a sustainable shopper, you must also support reforestation. The United Nations states, “Reforestation is the process of restoring trees to land that has been cut or destroyed.” This is especially important during the holiday season because it will provide shopping malls with Christmas trees for sale. Make sure that you are ensuring that your Christmas tree was grown and harvested locally and that each tree purchased will not result in the cutting down of another old-growth forest. Another way you can be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by recycling your Christmas cards.

Your Holiday Shopping List –

In order to be a sustainable shopper, you must also consider what’s on your holiday shopping list. Global Exchange states that products that are made with recycled materials or can be reused will support sustainable production.

If you are looking for suggestions of new, unique gifts then consider giving products made by local artists. Another way to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by purchasing organic food items. This reduces the damage done to the environment from pesticides.

Offset –

Once you have purchased sustainable gifts, it is important to consider how they were produced. Buying items that are Oeko-Tex certified will ensure that the products were created in an environmentally safe manner. Another way to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by paying attention to the carbon footprint of every product you are considering purchasing. Make sure that your gift is not being shipped from another country or thousands of miles away by opting for local products. Another way to be a sustainable shopper this holiday season is by offsetting the carbon dioxide emitted during your holiday travel.


Sustainable shopping may seem difficult to some, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post you learned about five ways that you can make your holiday routine more sustainable and environmentally friendly without sacrificing on quality or quantity of gifts given. You also learned how easy it is to offset the carbon dioxide emitted during your travel for a trip home by purchasing an eco-friendly gift online from a store near you instead of shipping one in from overseas! Which way will you choose while buying this year? We hope that our ideas give you something new and different to consider while choosing what’s best for everyone – both yourself and those around you!

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