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Going Greener: The 5-step guide to shopping for home décor and necessities in an eco-friendlier way

Furnishing and decorating your home, whether youve just moved in or youre looking to spruce up your current one a little, is an exciting project. Unfortunately, it often also means buying a lot of new items that arent necessarily the most eco-friendly because, for example, theyve come from far away, or because theyre packaged in a lot of plastic. Dont worry, though: There are ways to reduce your footprint when shopping for your home, making for more sustainable living. Every single thoughtful action is worth it. Here are just a few.

1. Choose greener materials

What your furniture and dcor items are made of matters when it comes to protecting the planet. Ditch unsustainable materials such as plastic or synthetic fibers and opt for greener materials. These might be materials found in nature (cotton organic if possible linen, glass, wood, bamboo, cork, metal and so on) or man-made materials that are energy-efficient, eco-friendly and/or ethical to produce (viscose, Tencel or biodegradable plastic, for example). And when it comes to replacing appliances such as washing machines or televisions, do your research and choose a model thats as energy-efficient as possible.

energy efficient home decor

2. Buy preloved (a k a secondhand)

As eco-friendly as new products can be, you cant beat secondhand items when it comes to sustainable shopping. This way, you can give home furnishings that would otherwise go to waste a second life and enjoy dcor thats completely unique rather than mass-produced. Buying preloved items dramatically reduces your carbon footprint, too, when compared with purchasing a newly manufactured equivalent. Shop your local vintage shops and estate sales to get started, and explore online retail platforms such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

3. Look for recycled and reusable items

You probably already recycle in your home. The next step? Go full circle and furnish your home with recycled or upcycled items (Upcycling is using a discarded object to create something of even greater value than before). The recycling process itself helps conserve Earths precious resources and reduce energy consumption and pollution. But if the process started and ended with putting your recyclables into the appropriate bins, what would be the point? Purchasing recycled goods completes the cycle and helps to protect the planet. There is another piece to the puzzle, too: Try to pick furniture and dcor that is recyclable as well as recycled, so that it doesnt go into a landfill at the end of its lifespan.

sustainable shopping

4. Shop locally

For all the convenience of ordering goods online or doing your shopping at a big chain store, both options, unfortunately, involve transporting products from far and wide to get them to your door. This isnt great for the environment, since the planes, ships and trucks used for commercial transport emit large amounts of CO2. On the other hand, shopping locally from smaller neighboring areas is greener local businesses usually employ members of the community, which translates toshorter commutes, less highway congestion and less fuel consumption and helps the local economy. Youre also more likely to find unique or handmade products just another of the many benefits of staying close to home to do your shopping.

5. Buy in bulk

When you need food or household products, consider buying nonperishable items (think detergent, diapers or shampoo) in bulk. This has many advantages, both for the planet and for you. Bulk buys save on transport since only one trip is required to deliver your items rather than several. They lso save on excess packaging when items come in larger containers. Last but not least, they save you money, as buying in bulk tends to be less costly in the end. To buy in bulk, you do have to have the space to store your purchases but if you do, it will avoid those last-minute emergency trips to the supermarket because you ran out of your favorite eco-friendly paper towels. All good things.

Sustainable living is the future

If youre looking to reduce your carbon footprint, sustainable shopping is one of the first things to do and that includes shopping for your home, too. Switching to greener products and to more eco-buying strategies, whether you currently own a home or just bought one, are easy yet incredibly impactful ways to get started.

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