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7 Easy Ways to Shop Sustainably: Minimize Waste and Cut Costs

We aspire for sustainable shopping to remain an enduring trend. Discover how to shop ethically, contribute to the well-being of the planet, and ensure each purchase makes a meaningful impact!

by Soofiya

For many of us, shopping is almost second nature. A trip to the mall for a pair of sneakers can easily turn into three full shopping bags dangling from our arms without much thought. In the UAE, the combination of increased per capita income, higher living standards, and affordable goods has expanded our shopping possibilities.

While the allure of fast fashion—swift production and sale of low-cost clothing to keep up with rapidly changing trends—might be appealing to some, the associated statistics are alarming. Fast fashion contributes to over 1.5 million metric tonnes of microplastics entering the ocean annually, posing environmental, ethical, and human rights concerns.

This is where sustainable shopping becomes crucial. With the UN designating March 30 as Zero Waste Day, the importance of reducing waste through conscious shopping is more apparent than ever. Small adjustments to our shopping habits can lead to less waste production and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Tips for Sustainable Shopping:

  1. Be a Conscious Shopper: Instead of impulsively buying items, consider their true purpose. Opt for items that “spark joy,” as Marie Kondo suggests. Choose durable materials and invest in quality for items like hiking boots or winter coats. Explore purchasing pre-loved luxury or tech items online to reduce both your environmental impact and expenses.
  2. BYOB – Bring Your Own Bags: With the UAE planning to ban single-use plastic bags, adopt the habit of bringing your own reusable bags, jars, and containers. Many stores now offer bulk sections where you can use your containers for items like grains, nuts, and dried fruit.
  3. Choose Products with Minimal Packaging: Look for products with minimal or recyclable packaging. Avoid excessively packaged items and prefer loose fresh produce over pre-packaged options. Consider brands that use reusable or biodegradable packaging.
  4. Limit Online Shopping: Online shopping generates 4.8 times more packaging waste than offline shopping. Control your online shopping tendencies by spacing out purchases and opting for slower, grouped delivery options to reduce individual packaging.
  5. Shop on Your Own Terms: Resist the pressure of ever-changing social media trends. Shop for items you truly want and that align with your style and budget. Realize the value of repeating outfits and develop a shopping strategy independent of social media influences.
  6. DIY – Do It Yourself: Reduce waste by making your own products, from household cleaning supplies to crocheted clothing. Not only does this foster new skills and hobbies, but it also allows you to control ingredients and packaging.
  7. Increase the Lifecycle of Possessions: Invest in items you can see yourself using for a long time. Regularly declutter your wardrobe and donate or give away items in good condition. This ensures that someone else can make use of items that are no longer needed, especially relevant for fast-growing phases like baby clothes.

By adopting a more mindful and conscious approach to shopping, you can reduce shopping waste in enjoyable and impactful ways. Every small change counts—be a conscious consumer and inspire others to do the same.

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