5 Sustainability Articles We’re Reading Ahead of Earth Day
On Earth Day (April 22), it’s important to focus on the sustainability of our daily practices, especially in terms of consumption. According to Statista, the average U.S. citizen generates around 14 tons of greenhouse gases per year. Things that contribute to this environmental hazard may include food waste, single-use plastics, frequent online shopping, and conspicuous consumption.
In the COVID economy, we were all guilty of overconsumption. With a growing economy and the world at our fingertips, we increased our environmental fingerprint significantly. According to the Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS) in 2020, e-commerce sales increased by 43% in 2020 from 2019, from $571.2 billion in 2019 to $815.4 billion in 2020—overall, a $244.2 billion increase.
These patterns and events have altered the way that we consume — whether it’s multiple single-use plastics purchased for cleaning and sanitation purposes, carbon emissions through delivery (food, clothing, and Amazon, to name a few), or an increase in new-product consumption through influences such as TikTok.
Luckily, it’s not too late to change lifestyle patterns for the better. With countless companies focusing on ESG and sustainability, we have an opportunity like never before to care for our planet and ourselves.
Here are some articles about sustainability in the consumer era that we can utilize to improve our daily lives. The authors and organizations have done an excellent job of breaking down the issues and offering evergreen, actionable steps for consumers and companies to live more sustainably.
An Exhaustive Guide to Sustainable Shopping
The Cut | Katja Vujic
In order to better protect the environment, we need to focus on conscious consumption, Vujic writes. What is conscious consumption? Vujic recommends a few changes to consumers’ shopping routines, including:
- Purchase something at a higher cost that will last longer, as opposed to purchasing from fast-fashion companies that use cheaper materials for clothing that will end up in landfills.
- Choose natural fibers like cotton or linen to ensure that the garment will break down easier than fabrics like polyester.
- Think before you buy. Will the item truly be worth the money when it comes to carbon emissions from delivery or the trip back to the store to return it?
Bottom line: Take care of your garments, and they will take care of you!
Buying Green for Consumers
Take the time to learn what a “greener” product is — sometimes products such as cleaners will “greenwash,” or make eco-friendly claims that are not legitimate.
The EPA has a list of standards and ecolabels that are considered legitimate and environmentally friendly. Consider buying reusable instead of disposable products, or even buy a used product to prevent waste.
The 9 Best Eco-Friendly Online Stores
Treehugger | Amanda Ogle
This article includes a list of stores that are ranked highly for their environmental credentials across a variety of categories, including clothing, home goods, cleaners, personal care, and more.
Consumers care about sustainability—and back it up with their wallets
McKinsey and Company | Sherry Frey, Jordan Bar Am, Vinit Doshi, Anandi Malik, and Steve Noble
McKinsey found in 2020 that over 60% of people said they would pay extra for a product if it had sustainable packaging. Additionally, 78% of U.S. consumers said that sustainability is important to them.
Ultimately, products that touted ESG claims had a cumulative growth of 28% over a 5-year period from 2017 to 2022. Most consumers are looking for affordable ESG products while inflation is high and cutting costs is necessary and they are overwhelmingly attracted to ESG products over their non-ESG counterparts.
Why Thrift Shopping Is Better For The Environment
Topic Insights | Lana Teramae
Thrift shopping is an excellent way to integrate sustainability into your lifestyle. Not only is it possible to find lots of high-end items at an affordable price, but thrifting also ensures that second-hand, well-cared-for items are used to their fullest abilities before being discarded.
And while reducing chemical and carbon production by cutting back on new clothing consumption, you can also support charities that benefit good causes.
🌎 Companies across industries are announcing their Earth Month and Earth Day initiatives. Catch up on the latest press releases. 🌎
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Caroline is an outgoing Content Editor for PR Newswire from Baltimore, MD. Caroline is a Randolph-Macon College graduate, with a bachelor's degree in Political Science, Communication Studies, and Religious Studies. She enjoys game shows, sushi, and visiting the city in her free time.