As Plastic Free July comes to a close, it’s time to consider how we can continue its mission into August and beyond. If you’re new to conscious consumerism — the idea of cutting out plastic or seeking eco-friendly options can be daunting.
Most of us have good intentions to live green; in fact, McKinsey and Co. found that 87% of shoppers are concerned with the social impact of what they buy. Sadly, only 33% report feeling knowledgeable and ready to buy eco-friendly, ethical products.
What stops us from following through at the checkout counter?
The payout is prolonged, but if you shop right, you’ll only have to buy once. The first barrier is a lack of awareness: where to find these products or how to identify the actual impact of the company producing them (Toasting Good’s most recent blog can help with that). However, once shoppers discover an ethical, eco-friendly product, the higher price tag becomes a big barrier.
We’re all human. It’s difficult to think about long term savings when comparing prices in the moment…but let’s look at the math.
In Your Closet:
Forever 21 jeans may seem favorable over ABLE’s price tag, but cheaply made clothes have a shorter lifespan, contributing to 11 million tons of textile waste produced by America each year and making it less cost effective over time.
Fast fashion is also the culprit of unsafe, sometimes fatal factory conditions and unlivable wages. Meanwhile, ABLE employs women overcoming hardship, in a safe environment and pays above fair wage.
In Your Kitchen:
Reusable alternatives last a lifetime and pay for themselves after just three to five boxes of Ziplocs. After 5 years (1/day), you’ll have saved $55 and 1,825 plastic bags from our oceans.
In Your Bathroom:
In less than 3 years (1/day) the price evens out, saves 1,000 cotton rounds from landfills and you never have to buy them again! After 10 years, you’ll have saved $72.64 and 3,650 disposable cotton rounds.
The payout is prolonged, but if you shop right, you’ll only have to buy once. Plus, Business psychology suggests the more you spend on something, the more often you use it and treat it with care. Over time, each sustainable switch saves you countless dollars.
Even if you currently don’t have the means to invest in these items, or live in an underserved community with few retail options, there are still ways to live more sustainably! Clean and reuse plastic bags, repurpose old clothes, buy secondhand goods and use toasting good’s gift guides to find responsible products online.
By shopping quality manufactured goods and ditching single-use plastics, you’re telling companies that sustainability is in demand and profitable.
As a customer, you have power to create change. By shopping quality manufactured goods and ditching single-use plastics, you’re telling companies that sustainability is in demand and profitable.
Over time, those buying choices cause a ripple effect encouraging wide scale corporate change from the bottom up. (Plus, you’ll get some real change back in your wallet).
Switching to a sustainable lifestyle is absolutely possible, just take it one swap at a time! Here are a few eco-friendly products we love from social enterprises in the Social Enterprise Alliance community.