Ways to shop
HOW CAN WE GET PRODUCTS WITH THE LOWEST CARBON FOOTPRINT?
Here are three simple rules of thumb to get you started on your way to low-carbon shopping:
1 Shop local – buy locally produced items and use local shops.
2 Shop long lasting – because then you won’t need to replace these products.
3 Shop natural – materials that can be recycled or composted won’t cause a problem at the end of their life.
A typical home will have around 25 major products, from carpets and mattresses to kitchen appliances and TVs.
Making, distributing and selling all these items produces CO2 so it makes sense to try and buy long lasting products that don’t need to be replaced as often.
The 3 ways a product creates CO2 are:
1 Manufacturing emissions – how much CO was used to make it. 2
2 Product miles – how far has it travelled, both the parts to make it and the finished product.
3 Efficiency – how much energy does it use in the home.
More tips for feel-good shopping that can cut CO2
1 Use shoppers’ guides, like Ethical Consumer, Which? magazine and online reviews, to find products that will last longer.
2 Shop in places that have a good knowledge of their products and brands. Ask which product has the longest lifespan.
3 Buying second-hand means cutting the CO2 produced by manufacturing. It’s also a cheaper way to buy high quality, long-lasting products.
4 Repair or replace? A high-quality repaired item can last longer than a new, low quality one. Paying a local repair person also creates employment.
5 Buy British. Goods made in this country have not had to travel as far, or by aeroplane, so less CO2 is used for transport. But you should still try and buy high quality, because a long lifespan usually saves more CO2 than transport, especially if the product has travelled by more carbon – friendly rail or ship.
6 Do you really need it? Sometimes it saves more time and money to do without!
Things to have in mind…
How long will it last?
If your kitchen toaster lasts around five years you will have to buy around 10 of them over a lifetime. But if the toaster was better made and lasted around 15 years, you’d only need to buy three of them.
A product that lasts three times as long will save 66% of CO2 over its lifetime.
A product that lasts five times as long will save 80%. Purchasing high quality, long lasting versions of all the products we buy can save 80% of CO2 emissions from the shopping part of our carbon footprint.
Can I save money too?
High quality products can cost twice as much but if they last three times as long, the ‘cost of ownership’ per year is lower. A product that lasts 15 years instead of 5 means you only have to buy it 4 times in your adult life instead of 12 times.
Where does my money go?
For every £1 spent in a chain store 10p says in the local economy whereas for every £1 spent in a local shop, 45p stays in the local economy, creating more jobs locally.
Time sp£nt on shopping
If we allow an average of two hours to buy each product, that’s 50 hours shopping time to buy 25 items for your home! Depending on the quality of what you buy, this could be 50 hours every 3 years – or every 10 years.
Quality of life
Buying long-lasting products can reduce our carbon footprint and save us time and money at the same time, so improving our quality of life.