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5 Ways To Be An Ethical Consumer

1. Buy from brands who share your values

Everything we buy can be an ethical choice. Every time you spend the money in your pocket, you can choose to support the way in which we treat the planet. Even if you can’t make the choices you want every single time.

Where you can, what sustainable brands can you choose to support. Can you pick brands that share your values, whether that’s vegan, plastic free, ones that support conservation or local communities? Identify your main concerns, frustrations or passions and start aligning the things you buy to what you believe.

2. Buy Less

As much as everyone needs to support sustainable brands, what we all need to more of is buy less. Overconsumption is killing our planet, from clothes to cleaning products and it’s something we can all tackle.

There are simple questions you can ask yourself before you do buy anything new.

Can you buy less products?

Can you multitask with less?

Can you make your own or grow your own instead of buying?

Can you buy secondhand or vintage instead of new?

3. Understand the real impact of what you’re buying

There is no such thing as 100% sustainability or a 100% sustainable brand. And while we use simple terms like ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ they can mean many many things, and not every brand can be as sustainable as we want them to be in every direction all at once.

Understand what each brand is doing now, what they aren’t and what they want to change.

Research the impact and the issues of the industries you’re buying products in – for example coffee might be fairtrade, but what are its carbon emissions? Can anything you buy work harder?

4. Don’t waste the ingredients

From using up the ends of shampoo bottles to trying to reduce your food waste so you don’t waste ingredients. Everything in your house has a carbon footprint from manufacturing and making the product, so to reduce that impact, make sure as little as possible goes to waste.

There’s also no need to swap everything over to a sustainable alternative on one day, or chuck out something because it doesn’t look as ‘ethical’ as some new brands – using up what we already have or keeping something in use is the most ethical way to consume.

5. Don’t forget the packaging

There are plenty of ways you can bring down your packaging impact.

Try to avoid single use plastic.

Order brands to home that commit to using recycled and recyclable packaging

Swap your brands over to those that offer refills

Swap beauty and skincare products to those that can be refilled or come without any packaging – eg solid soap bars.

Also look at what you do with the packaging. Make sure you recycle all cardboard and glass and look at tutorials on how to reuse jars, pots and more. There are so many hacks and ideas out there for upcycling, there’s no need to send anything to landfill.

pebble magazine can help you in a lot of these areas. We are on a mission to end overconsumption and help people find sustainable alternatives and practical inspiration. We are free to read, free to subscribe and staffed by people like you who want a better planet.

Subscribe to pebble’s weekly emails packed with positive and practical actions and inspiration. We’d love to have you join our family.

Want to do more than like and scroll on social? Join our digital community, Ripples by pebble, for sustainable changemakers – it’s free. Monthly topics, weekly check ins, a book club, panel talks and lots of people to support you in your sustainable journey!

Georgina Wilson-Powell is the founder of pebble, she lives in Margate with her partner and dog Maggie May.

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