Shop Small for Your Community & the Planet!

The Dig on Main, Millerton, NY

Now that the sun is shining and we are popping out into the world again, remember to shop local and shop small! The Pandemic has been isolating – making online shopping more necessary than ever. Online shopping doesn’t have to only benefit the big players like Amazon. Going directly to a retail merchant or manufacturer’s site will breath more life and profits into their business. If you love an independent store and would like to make sure they’re still around in 2021, show them some love now. These next few months are going to be crucial for small businesses struggling to survive the economic blows of the pandemic. If your favorite shop(s) do not have an online presence, call them and inquire whether they will ship directly from the store, and/or at least accommodate phone orders that allow for curbside pick up.

Don’t opt for the fastest shipping because it’s free

Not in a hurry? Avoid clicking next day or 2 day shipping – just because it’s free. There will always be deals to be had from the usual suspects because the big e-stores have a cushion for weathering slow sales. But keep in mind that even in normal times, the sheer internet shopping volume has a profound impact on our communities. One solution is to be more organized and mindful about our purchases. Last minute panic practically guarantees next day delivery, making the giants who offer free and expedited shipping unavoidable. Amazon is a third-party seller, meaning they are a hub for a multitude of individual merchants, so loading up your cart and purchasing all at once doesn’t necessarily mean that your order won’t arrive in multiple boxes from various locations. Shopping a single-shingle or independent store with the most to offer to your cart will help to insure that your delivery comes in the fewest boxes from one destination, reducing your carbon footprint. 

“In general, waiting is good. Opt for longer delivery times, which will be more efficient. Expedited shipments are less environmentally friendly. If you don’t need it right away, don’t pick [two-day shipping] just because it’s free”  – Anne Goodchild, director of the University of Washington’s Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center

More Ethical On-Line Shopping Options

Etsy is also a third-party seller but they are a great example of shopping small ‘virtually’ while supporting local artisans, entrepreneurs, and merchants. Etsy is considered an ethical company for a few reasons: Their merchants take a much larger cut of the margin than Amazon offers; they are investing five million dollars in Offsite Ad credits in the fight for public policy change to better support small business owners; and they offset 100 percent of carbon emissions from shipping.

eBay is another sustainable shopping source. While a very small percentage of items available would be considered ‘green’, eBay represents a virtual yard sale, creating a platform for a multitude of sellers to buy and bid on items, giving products extended lives. Nobody can argue the sustainability factor here. eBay also partners with organizations and nonprofits to advocate for climate action.

Better World Books offers lovingly pre-owned books at a discount. This certified B Corp company re-invests in libraries, literacy programs, and the reduction of waste to landfills, while offsetting carbon emissions. Also check out Bookshop which links you to local bookstores while shopping online.

If you truly care about someone, don’t send them gifts that deplete the environment or compromise their health. Be mindful of what you (and your loved ones) breath, eat, and put on your skin. This is why I promote products like pure beeswax candles so relentlessly – because you breath what you burn. My tips on organic mattresses; creating a non-toxic nursery; the best air-purifying plants, non-toxic cookware… come from a deep concern about indoor air quality and its effect on our health. If we gain nothing else from this blasted pandemic, let it be a heightened awareness of the air that we breath at the very least. Buy the original natural air purifyers – house plants – and give them as gifts!! 

Look for online retail stores who stock products from sustainable and ethical merchants – many of which are small; women run; B Corp certified; Fair Trade; and/or companies that give back to communities and environmental organizations. Most of the product found at green design GOODS, is not carried by third-party sellers. Like the pure essential oil Yogi Mat Spray feature here –  from a small-batch, woman owned company.

Here is a list of a few more home, personal care, and gift sources that will help with your eco-gifting this season:

The Sill (US only) – Live plants, faux and preserved plants, pots & accessories.

The Detox Market (worldwide) – Organic skin care, natural makeup & nail polish, clean hair care, and wellness teas.

Plastic Freedom Europe, (North America, Australia) – Everyday, plastic-free necessities.

Uncommon Goods (worldwide) – Gifts

Package Free (worldwide) – Zero-waste Mecca.

BLK + GRN (US only) – All-natural marketplace by all Black artisans who create quality natural Black-owned toxic-free products.

Made Trade (worldwide) – Sustainably sourced, and ethically made goods for the modern wardrobe and home.

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About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Please contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have. Also visit the Green Design Goods store for my favorite environmentally sustainable products.

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