We live in a world of ‘quick fixes’ where we’re drawn to shopping in ways that are convenient and cheap. But while we’re trying to save time and effort, we’re not paying attention to the things that we’re unwittingly sacrificing at the same time – namely, the planet.
Consumerism is rife and it’s all too easy to be pressured into following the mainstream spending habits. Going against the grain can be hard, especially when it can seem intimidating and isolating – who wants to say no to a shopping trip with their friends? But we’re here to show you that making the shift to a more sustainable way of living isn’t just possible, but easy (and you won’t lose your friends in the process).
Going ‘all-in’ can be daunting, and we’re not expecting you to change your way of living overnight. But there are some easy swaps that you can make today to get you started on your way to an eco-conscious life.
When you’re on the go, make sure to always have a reusable coffee cup and/or water bottle with you so you’re not cut short. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of saying “just this once…” But, with 50% of all plastic created for single-use purposes, we need to break this damaging cycle. Another trick for busy working days is taking your own lunch to work, and this can not only save the planet but also your purse. To keep your sandwiches fresh all day, beeswax wraps are a great alternative to clingfilm.
Opt for plastic-free alternatives
With 12 million tonnes of plastic being poured into the oceans every year, it is estimated that by the 2050 there will be more plastic in these waters than fish. It’s undeniable that there is a serious issue here and, while it has made headlines in recent years, there has been a noticeable lull in coverage. Just because it’s not on the news doesn’t mean the problem is going anywhere, so we need to make a conscious effort to tackle our personal plastic use at every turn.
Thankfully, there are zero-waste stores popping up all over the country (and the world) where you can take your own containers and fill up with exactly what you need. Not only does this remove the need to have plastic packaging, but it also minimises food waste as you’re not buying in excess. Some big name supermarkets are also implementing refill areas within their stores, which is amazing as it makes zero-waste shopping more accessible.
When it comes to things like cosmetics and cleaning products, refills are a great option and are being offered more and more by mainstream brands. This means that you can re-use the original plastic containers rather than buying new ones each time and throwing the old ones away. They’re also cheaper as you’re not paying for fancy packaging, so another win for your wallet.
Whether you’re familiar with the Yoga Sutras or not, we can all learn from the idea of aparigraha (or non-attachment). When you’re out shopping, try not to get swept up in the consumerist mentality. Instead, pause, ground yourself in the present moment, and ask: “Do I really need this?” Of course the answer may be yes, but if it’s something that you already have one of or you own something similar, or if you’re shopping because you’re searching externally for happiness, then the answer won’t be in a high street store and you should put the item back on the shelf (or switch off your laptop).
“We have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.” – Emma Watson
Shopping at small independent brands is a great way not only to support local sellers but to also work against the fast fashion monster. These brands (like Myga) provide more transparency, allowing customers to see what behaviours they’re buying into. While independent brands might often have smaller catalogues, this ensures they don’t overproduce (so don’t end up with wasted stock), don’t ship their products unnecessarily long distances, and treat their staff fairly. So a win for the planet, a win for the workers, and a win for you.
“Buy less, choose well, [and] make it last.” – Vivienne Westwood
Another great option is purchasing second-hand goods. Don’t let the name fool you, because you can find some real gems in your local charity shop (most of which have barely been worn). There are also so many apps and online platforms popping up where you can buy people’s unwanted items and, with around £140 million worth of used but still wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year, it’s imperative that we all fight to reduce this. It’s also a sustainable way of cleaning out your own closet and not feeling guilty that you’re getting rid of something that still has life in it. Plus, selling your old clothes is a great way to give yourself a little bit of extra pocket money.
Inspired to start living more consciously and joining the shop small revolution? Keep an eye out for more blog posts to help you live more sustainably. In the meantime, check out Myga’s online store or in-person shop in Birmingham where you can browse their collection of all things yoga , crystals and other mindful gifts.
Serina Tatham is currently an editorial assistant working for a magazine championing sustainable luxury travel. She has been passionate about the environment for years, and looks forward to sharing her tips and tricks on how to live a more conscious lifestyle with the Myga community. In her spare time, she loves practising yoga (especially yin), discovering new rambles in her local area, and experimenting in the kitchen.