7 Ways to Shop More Sustainably

Our top tips for making your shopping more sustainable and reducing your environmental impact.
Posted on
August 19, 2022
7 Ways to Shop More Sustainably

Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, there are lots of ways to reduce your impact on the environment, like buying fewer new items and using what you already have.

Read more: Is online shopping better for the environment?

In addition to finding eco-friendly brands to shop with, and making small but effective changes to your shopping habits, here are a few our our favourite ways to minimize your impact when shopping.

How to shop more sustainably

1. Bundle your purchases

If you're making a purchase online, group multiple items so you’re ordering more at one time, and try to get the products packaged and shipped together. It may take a little bit longer to arrive, but you’ll avoid doubling the emissions just from having two items shipped separately.

2. Bundle your errands

When you're popping into town to pick up something, try to squeeze in more errands to run while you shop to get more mileage out of your trip. Save on gas and, hopefully, a little time!

3. Purchase clothes in-store

Returning an item to the store or warehouse increases its overall carbon footprint. When you can, go into the store, try an item on IRL, and only take home what works for you.

4. Buy local

Avoid shopping on international sites where the product will have to travel much longer distances to get to you. Try to shop at stores that are most local to you and consider walking, biking, or taking public transit to get there.

5. Request less packaging

If you must get items shipped, check to see if the company you’re ordering from offers a “low packaging” option at checkout, or order them from a physical store (the least carbon-intensive model of shopping of all!).

6. Use parcel lockers

Look into local parcel lockers to relieve last-mile delivery pressure and avoid those pesky missed deliveries. That counts as a win-win in our book.

7. Sleep on it

Lastly, for non-essential impulse purchases—you know, the type of items that social media platforms are so effective at selling—think about sitting on your shopping cart just a little longer to ponder the real cost of consumption.

Our hot tip: set yourself a calendar reminder for a few days in the future to look at it again and see if the shine has worn off before you click the buy button.

And always remember...

If you find yourself questioning whether you really need what you’re shopping for, consider taking it as your cue to abandon that cart before proceeding to checkout.

Chances are great that you, and your wallet, will be happy with your choice!‍

Read more: Our favourite ways to save money and the planet

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Jessica Wei
Written By
Jessica Wei

Jessica Wei is a writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in the Guardian, GQ, and the Independent. She'll sneak an anchovy into any dish she's cooking.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Ventures Inc., or its affiliates.

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