Businesses making it easier to lead a more sustainable lifestyle
Sustainability has been a popular buzzword for a while now, but it’s something that we all need to take more seriously in order to contribute to a healthier planet. Whether you’re completely zero waste or just dipping your toes in the world of sustainability, individual practices can make a big difference when combined.
To meet demand, green businesses have been cropping up in a host of industries, with a mission to create positive change and support the environment and communities in the process. From changing manufacturing processes to the raw materials used and recycling or energy efficient transportation, there are various ways that businesses can help us live a more sustainable life. The following sectors are just a few examples of how businesses are helping consumers shop more sustainably and do their part to lower their carbon footprint.
Resale platforms have had something of a moment in recent years, and the cultural attitude towards buying secondhand is certainly shifting. From fashion to tech and home goods, consumers are now looking to save money and support environmental endeavours with resale channels such as Vinted and eBay. In particular, the secondhand clothing market has boomed in the last few years with the rise of brands like Depop and Reluxe.
Resale or buying secondhand is almost always more sustainable than buying new. As MPB, a company making secondhand photography equipment more accessible, outlines, 69% of people surveyed agree that buying used equipment is the best way to reduce the environmental impact of their photography.
Buying secondhand, whether you choose to buy used clothing to update your wardrobe, opt for secondhand sports equipment over new or buy a pre-loved phone instead of the latest model, extends the lifespan of items and prevents us from overusing resources unnecessarily. Every item you buy used prevents that item from winding up in the landfill, and that’s great news for the environment and your wallet.
Zero waste shops
Packaging is one of the primary contributors to waste, but it can be hard to avoid when our groceries and deliveries are wrapped in plastic and materials that are hard to recycle. Zero waste and package-free shops are making it easier to shop sustainably without the plastic waste, enabling you to buy everything from flour and sugar to grains, pasta and chocolate in your own storage containers. Even your olive oil, shampoo and laundry detergent can be purchased without the bottle, simply by taking your own reusable bottles with you when you shop.
Zero waste stores have popped up around the country, making it more accessible than ever to shop in this eco-friendly way. From Village Greens in Manchester to Weigh to Go in Edinburgh, The Little Pantry in Tenby and so many more, the majority of UK residents may be surprised to learn that they have a package-free shop within easy reach of their home. Doing your shopping in this way doesn’t just cut out considerable amounts of packaging waste, but it also reduces food waste too since you’re able to weigh out precisely the amount of ingredients you need which prevents overbuying.
Food waste is a huge problem in the UK, with experts estimating that we waste around one third of all food purchased. We’ve all experienced half packets of ingredients languishing in the back of the cupboard, long past their use-by date, but buying package free reduces the risk of this happening. While the process of shopping zero waste may take some getting used to, the benefits for both consumers and the planet far outweigh the learning curve.
Vegan food producers
If you speak to any environmental expert, they’ll tell you that one of the most environmentally friendly changes you can make to your lifestyle is to adopt a plant-based diet. The agricultural sector has a severe impact on the environment, from land use to water wastage and pollution from animals and transportation. In fact, if you’re serious about leading a sustainable lifestyle, your diet should be one of the first things to change and it’s a change that will have a huge impact.
While transitioning to a vegan or vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone, there are brands making it easier for meat-eaters to choose plant-based offerings even just a few times a week for a positive effect. And collectively, even a swap to a veggie meal once a week can have a big knock-on effect to the industry as a whole.
For example, Oatly is one of the world’s most popular alternative milk brands and is now served in countries around the globe as a switch from traditional cow’s milk. Similarly, Beyond Meat is shaking up the food industry with its incredibly realistic products that have a similar mouthfeel and taste to meat but with none of the environmental or animal welfare consequences. Even big name brands like Richmond and Pukka have created vegan alternatives to their meat based products as the demand for plant-based alternatives continues to grow.
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing us today, but there are brands out there trying to turn the tide on carbon emissions and helping us to do our bit when it comes to sustainability. From brands like Pela who use recycled, recyclable materials for phone cases to shoe brands like Veja who opt for natural rubber to reduce pollution in the manufacturing process, you can find businesses in virtually every sector who are doing positive things for the planet.
As more of us attempt to make sustainable changes that will help us reduce our carbon footprint and ease the burden on the environment, the number of businesses looking to meet demand will naturally grow, making it increasingly easier to do better with our purchasing decisions. As these examples have shown, there are innovative companies out there putting the planet first and helping consumers to make greener purchasing decisions.