Make Your Shopping More Earth-Friendly

A large wreath hanging on the side of a building.

Giving gifts is part of our culture, but all gifts are not equal in terms of their impact on the Earth and climate change.  We can make shopping more Earth-friendly if we consider how our choices impact the environment. 

Here are six ways you can contribute less to climate change and make shopping more Earth-friendly:

A store front with flowers in the window.
Thornes Marketplace Northampton, Ma
  1. Shop Local, at nearby stores.  It requires less travel and they are more likely to stock locally or regionally made products.                 Added benefits:                                         
  • keeps main streets alive and local shops in business                       
  • makes a festive day with a stop for a coffee, lunch or dinner
A cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate on the table.

2. Buy products that are made locally to avoid transportation (shipping) of goods from far and wide.

Local boutiques, open studios, craft fairs, and makers markets are the best source for locally made gifts.

A room with candles and a large lamp
Beth and Frances Shelburne Falls, Ma

3. Choose unique handcrafted gifts made of sustainable or renewable materials like wood, clay, glass, natural fibers, stone or bamboo.  Avoid items made of plastic, which never biodegrade and are rarely recycled. 

A wooden box with some papers on top of it
A couple of black cups and saucers on top of a table.
Local ceramics, Annette Gates

4) Buy higher quality, durable items instead of single use or disposable ones.  Cheaper quality items wear out or break quickly, leading to replacement and more waste in landfills.

A room filled with lots of different types of clothing.
A store front with flowers in the window.
Vintage shopping, Easthampton, Ma

5) Shop for vintage, gently used, or refurbished items.  They are generally better quality, built to last, and are often cheaper than new items.  Reusing reduces waste.

Second hand shops are popping up everywhere with a variety of different styles and an ever changing selection.  Check out the Vintage Valley Trail in Franklin County, MA.

6) Give or gift experiences instead of objects.  This sends money into the service economy (which employs people).  Performing arts or sporting events, museums, cooking classes, and tours are just a few ideas. 

Or gift a donation to a non profit or charity that is meaningful to the person. These can include land trusts, parks, cultural venues (film,art, theater), scientific research groups and so many more. 

Each choice we make has an impact. We can all make a difference if we take every opportunity to think about the environment and choose a more Earth friendly way.