Easy switches for greener purchasing in 2023

(A garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photograph: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images.)

With global warming proving to be an ever-worsening problem, this decade is seeing a dramatic change in consumer attitudes as collectively we seek to be more green.
Millennials and Gen Z have been leading the charge in terms of driving demand for eco-friendly products, but a poll of UK consumers showed that baby boomers were not far behind in showing a preference for sustainable options when shopping.

However, it can be difficult to know which companies have the environment at the heart of what they do, especially in a market where the greenwashing of consumers is prevalent.
If you are finding it hard to know where to begin with becoming a more eco-friendly consumer, kick off with these easy switches for greener purchasing in 2023. These simple yet effective changes are sure to have a knock-on positive effect for the environment, whichever companies you use.

Change your transport

Given its overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels, transport is one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. When it comes time for you to change your transport, there are several options you can investigate to be more eco-friendly.
If you are in the market for a new car, consider going for an electric or hybrid model rather than a classic fuel-powered vehicle. For those not quite ready to make the switch, there is the option of buying a used petrol car from a local retailer as a short-term solution.

Bikes and e-bikes – or even scooters – are an ideal option if you don’t have too far to commute, especially if you do not have to ferry around a family. You could also reduce your daily driving by using public transport more frequently or getting your steps in and going on foot where possible.

Shop local

For your day-to-day groceries, try to prioritise local vendors over and above the larger chains.
Independent shops in your local community are likely to produce their products nearby which means minimal use of transport. This ensures that your purchases have a much lower carbon footprint than similar products that have been made overseas and flown or shipped to the UK.
There is often less need for packaging with products that have been grown or manufactured nearby. You also have the added benefit of supporting your local community and keeping independent stores in business.

Avoid fast fashion

(Textile offcuts in Bangladesh. This photo highlights the huge problem of offcuts and the need to reduce the fashion industry’s environmental footprint. Photograph: Mohammed Anwarul Kabir Choudhury/Alamy)

One of the most significant changes you can make to your purchasing habits is to avoid fast fashion. This trend is firmly entrenched in bad consumerism habits and is speeding us towards environmental disaster as the world cannot appropriately dispose of the constant waste material.

Make investments that are likely to last rather than following trends and favouring clothing chains that cut corners in the quality of their manufacture in order to keep costs down.
You can also investigate second-hand clothing options such as buying vintage pieces and looking at charity shops when you are in need of a new outfit.