Shop wisely to save the environment and your bank balance!

Published: 18 Nov 2021

Christmas is coming and the sales are on. But do we really need to buy so much? This year why not shop wisely by buying local, buying better or even making your own gifts for that personal touch. Read some top tips below to help save the environment AND your bank balance!

Tip 1 - BUY LOCAL 

  • Shopping locally means your money stays in the community, reduces waste from all that parcel and delivery packaging and helps the circular economy.
  • Supporting our local shops may mean that you don’t need to use your car.  Car emissions account for 15% of the UK’s overall carbon emissions according to the Energy Saving Trust – that’s 85 million tonnes – and many of those journeys are not actually necessary.
  • Shopping local also gives you access to locally produced, unique items that make great gifts and haven’t been mass-produced. And don’t we all like the friendliness and the personal nature of interacting with owners of small businesses?

Find out how to Buy Local this Christmas

Tip 2. Buy Less, Buy Better!

  • Buy less stuff! Rising demands for raw materials to make these things – like oil, metals and water – are damaging the environment. Don’t buy new clothes or gifts unless you think you or the personally receiving them will really love it.
  • Buy better! Try to avoid single use plastics or plastic gifts and toys that may only be used a short while before ending up in landfill.
  • Buy fewer clothes and wear them for longer. A new party outfit is a lovely thing and can make an occasion feel special. However, one outfit  that suits you really well and makes you feel confident and comfortable can have the same effect each time and you will want to put it on. If you want to get something new consider instead using a small accessory to update your outfit.
  • Shop as sustainably as you can afford. You will end up with some great merchandise or gifts for family and friends that will make you feel extra brilliant because you shopped for it all in a sustainable manner.
  • Buying food wisely: This is of course a whole separate topic in itself, both in terms of what food we buy, what we eat, where we buy it from, and what we waste. Watch this space for a dedicated issue on  wise food choices to protect the planet. In the meantime you might like to start by cutting back on your red meat consumption. Find out more

Did you know

  • The UK is the fourth largest producer of textile waste in Europe, according to a study produced last year (2020).  This study found each Briton throws away about 3.1kg of textiles every year, and that 1.7kg of fashion waste is landfilled yearly per person.  The UK clothing industry is the third largest in Europe and the study found British consumers spend £980,50 a year on new clothes.

Tip 3. Do some brand research

  • Do some brand research, even if it is just the brand website, to get a feel for how the company you are buying from run their business. If you can afford it, try shopping somewhere with good sustainable business practices.

Tip 4. Make do and mend

  • Why buy into all that consumerist malarkey during the festive period when you can make your own Christmas gifts from scratch? Get some Top Tips from Mumsnet:
  • Re-dye natural fabrics to smarten up an old look.
  • Find your local Repair Café and get help sewing and repairing your clothes. Horsham's repair cafe also hold workshops so that you can learn tips on how to do this for yourself!
  • Find out more

    Horsham Repair Café is a great local resource, open the last Saturday of every month between 10am and 4pm at the United Reformed Church, 45 Springfield Road, Horsham, RH12 1PT and they can help repair not just clothes but many household items too. If you fancy learning how to fix it as well, their volunteers are happy to talk through what they are doing.

Tip 5: Take care of your clothes

  • Wash at lower temperatures and use liquid rather than a powdered detergent as this uses less energy, less bleach and helps your clothes last longer. Modern, efficient washing machines do a great job at 30℃. There’s rarely a need to go to 60℃ – which can use 5x more energy.  Washing on a lower heat is also better for fabrics. Try to avoid bleach in your detergents too to help protect your fabrics and the environment.

If you swap tumble drying for drying laundry on a washing line it can save 90kg of carbon per household per year!