How to Shop more Sustainably in 2021

*This blog contains sponsored content*

Hey Owlets,

Being in lockdown throughout 2020 gave us chance to see the negative effects of the things we do every day without thinking. Having had chance to step back and watch the world heal for a while, you may be wondering how you can continue to make your own positive impact on the world by way of making small, affordable and easy swaps in your day to day life. 

One of the biggest sources of pollution and waste comes from the fashion industry. It’s estimated that by 2050 the fashion industry will use up to a quarter of the world’s carbon budget, making it the most polluting industry after oil. When you buy from a big fast fashion brand you might be getting a brand new wardrobe without taking a big chunk out of your bank balance but the reality is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch and the benefit to your wallet and the brand’s profits has to come from somewhere. The cost is usually mistreating workers, unfair pay and questionable environmental practices. So, if you’re wondering how you can shop more sustainably this year, here’s a few suggestions.

Buy Second Hand

Vintage has become cool in recent years - while a big reason for this is the ability to find unique pieces that can’t be found on every high street, another reason is that it’s much better for the environment to buy second hand than fuel an economy that makes money by employing questionable strategies.

While for some people rocking up at the local charity shop to sift through the racks can seem like a fun adventure, if you’re new to the world of second hand clothing it can feel a little daunting - particularly if you have a marginalised body. An easier way to get into this could be looking online using sites like eBay, Depop or Vinted which allow you to use filters to search much like you would do on ASOS. Even some of the big fast fashion players have launched ways to shop pre-loved or more sustainably on their sites, although you may still feel a little conflicted about giving your money to a fast fashion retailer even if the clothes themselves aren’t fast fashion.

Shop Independent

Shopping independent is a really good way to have a positive impact on the fashion industry. A lot of small businesses and independent traders are more ethically minded - they source more sustainable fabrics and make the clothes themselves, so by supporting an independent seller on Etsy or Instagram you’re not only shopping more sustainably but also helping someone achieve their dreams. Just remember to check that they mention using sustainable fabrics and practices - otherwise they could be buying the fabric from a disreputable overseas manufacturer and you would be accidentally contributing to fast fashion in a different way.

Think About the Fabrics

One huge factor to consider when trying to limit your impact on the environment is the type of fabric you choose to purchase. When buying clothes it’s easy to think that because cotton is natural it’s the best for the environment but it actually has a huge impact. Cotton is incredibly water intensive to cultivate and process, and requires a lot of chemicals and pesticides which seep into local soil and water supplies. If you’re looking for a fibre that’s going to be kinder to the environment, then bamboo is an amazing option. An article published by Bambigo states that bamboo actually has a positive impact on the environment. It doesn’t require artificial watering, absorbs more carbon dioxide and produces more oxygen than the same amount of trees, produces 10x more product than cotton and helps keep the ground fertile because the roots are left behind when it’s harvested. It also feels incredibly soft, so if you’re looking for something that’s good for you as well as the environment then bamboo could be the perfect solution.

When you first decide to “be more sustainable” it can feel incredibly daunting. It’s such a vague term that it can be easy to feel totally clueless, but the truth is that even making one small change has a positive impact so nothing should feel too small or insignificant - everything mounts up! Just  do your research and try your best.

Love and Feathers,
 The Owlet 💜 

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