Why Shopping Small Is Still Such a Sustainable Solution
As the effects of climate change continue, there are simple ways you can help. Rethinking your shopping habits is one way. Consider shopping small as a more sustainable solution. When you shop small, it means you are shopping locally so as to support your friends, your neighbors and your community. You are giving back while, at the same time, contributing to someone’s dream and still getting the products you need and want.
Here are a few reasons to support this sustainable shopping trend:
Shopping Small Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
Most products from national chain stores are produced outside of your local community. This means many items are shipped by plane. The process emits greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, and pollutes the air. Planes are responsible for 12% of carbon dioxide emissions from all transport sources. However, local businesses generally buy products and supplies within the area, thus reducing emissions.
Another way small businesses lower their carbon footprint is through their location. Many companies are in the town center where they take up less space. So, residents can walk or ride their bikes to the store, saving on gas.
It Helps to Protect Local Wildlife
Buying from local farmers helps them to stay in business. With less demand, some have to sell their land to developers who displace animals from their habitat. Also, the developers may change the environment’s layout and some species may not be able to adapt.
Another issue is big businesses could buy the farm. While they produce more income, they may not practice eco-friendly strategies. Some even incorporate inhumane animal practices. Wildlife conservation is essential because some animals help reduce carbon emissions, such as bees.
The Food Is More Organic
Buying local produce ensures consumers get nutritious food. Many small farmers provide items that are organic, as well as hormone- and pesticide-free. This is both good for the customer and the environment. Pesticides leak into the waterways and soil and harm wildlife and plants. Also, toxic chemicals pollute the air.
Another issue is the use of pesticides reduces biodiversity. Prey spreads harmful chemicals to their predators when consumed, affecting the whole food chain. Each organism in the ecosystem relies on one another. So, the system can’t function properly without proper diversity. Some manufacturers also use organic materials, such as cotton.
Shopping Small Can Prevent Food Waste
Food from local businesses is fresher so buying it tends to reduce food waste. Larger retailers overstock their shelves and items go to waste before someone buys them. The food sold from farmers goes directly to the consumer.
The other perk of having locally-grown, fresh food is people won’t throw it out as quickly. In fact, food waste is estimated at between 30-40% of the food supply. Spoiled food ends up in landfills and takes time to break down. During this time, it releases greenhouse gasses.
It Increases the Local Workforce
You increase the demand for local businesses when you shop small. This often reduces the worker’s commute time and decreases fuel emissions. You’re also ensuring farmers are secure in their jobs. This prevents the need for them to search outside the community for work. Besides the farmer, you need people to set up food stands and clean up at the end of the day.
With people working in the area, travel time is cut down. This reduces highway congestion and protects wildlife, too. Fewer roadways are built, reducing overall air pollution and habitat destruction.
How to Shop Small
With all these environmental impacts, shopping small can help. Although, you might not know where to start. First, check out Small Business Saturday. It’s in November and is a day to celebrate and support small companies. Take pictures and spread the word on social media if you go to the event.
Also, promote other small businesses on your account any day of the week. To get savings, sign up for your local business loyalty program. Try to keep up with The Small Business Administration site for tips on how to get involved.
Sustainable Solutions to Help the Planet
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is essential to conserve our resources. Changing your shopping habits is an easy way to help. Shopping locally is good for the environment and your health. It reduces carbon emissions and protects wildlife. So, head to your local store for your next grocery run.
Author Bio: Ava Roman is the Managing Editor for Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that advocates for living your most authentic life. Ava’s most authentic life includes minimizing her carbon footprint, advocating for climate change, and living as waste free as possible to keep Mother Earth happy.