An Everyday Guide To Being A More Mindful Shopper
Even with the best of intentions, buying consumer goods negatively impacts the environment.
From the energy used in manufacturing and delivery, to the materials that make up the item itself, our carbon footprint as humans is ever-expanding. On the flip side, these same items have the potential to create jobs throughout the supply chain and spark joy in those who receive the end product.
Nothing beats the convenience and selection of online shopping. At Zappos, we want to enable our customers to find products they’ll love while giving our planet a helping hand.
Living thoughtfully doesn’t have to start with huge sacrifices; it can be as simple as choosing renewable and recycled materials or buying items that are made to last.
This Earth Day, check out a few of our tips for shopping and living sustainably; and remember, every little bit counts.
Seek out recycled materials
Wearing clothing from recycled fibers doesn’t mean forgoing fashion or function. Post-consumer materials are being incorporated into a whole range of products, and shine in footwear, accessories and performance apparel.
In a partnership with Parley for the Oceans, Adidas gives discarded fishing nets and other ocean waste a second life as sneakers and workout gear, while Nike and FIG Clothing tap into the superb durability of recycled polyester.
Fabric made from recycled plastic bottles turns up in board shorts by Volcom, Quicksilver and Vissla and accessories by Parkland and Matt & Nat. Timberland incorporates Green Rubber™ — made from used tires — in the outsoles of some footwear, and Carhartt adds the funk fighting power of recycled wool to their sturdy work socks.
Go for natural fibers
Using in recycled materials — especially those made from fossil fuels — is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry. If you prefer to avoid synthetics altogether, look for items made from natural plant and animal-derived materials.
Cozy fibers like cashmere, wool and alpaca provide softness and breathability, and can be found in lines ranging from outdoor gear brands to luxury fashion houses.
PrAna blends hemp and cotton for durable, lightweight clothing, and Eileen Fisher crafts their elegant pieces from organically farmed flax linen. Zeal Optics replaces plastics with a natural resin to create biodegradable sunglasses, and Birkenstock taps into a sustainable and renewable cork for their iconic sandals.
Shop smarter and simpler
An obvious, but often overlooked way to live sustainably is to consume less. Investing in well-made staples is more sensible than snatching up fast fashion trends meant to last a single season. Buying timeless pieces that are made to endure keeps clothes out of the landfill, and reduces water and energy consumption from manufacturing new goods.
When shopping for clothing, look for versatile items that can be dressed up or down, and a few that will transition through changing weather with different accessories and layering pieces.
Supporting responsible manufacturers is another way to tip the scales toward environmentally-friendly fashion. Eco clothing company tentree hopes to combat climate change by using sustainable materials and planting 10 trees for every item purchased.
Extend the life of your clothes
Many clothing items are retired before their time due to changes in fit or a need for minor repairs. Most of us are probably up to the task of removing stubborn ink stains or sewing on a lost button, but for more complex procedures like replacing zippers or taking in a waistband, call on your local tailor or dry cleaner for an affordable fix.
Tailoring is a wonderful way to keep wearing what’s already in your closet after dropping a size, or passing on hand-me-downs to a child who hasn’t quite grown into an older sibling’s clothes.
Footwear can be refreshed by conditioning leather and replacing rubber heel tips, or for a total overhaul, take your favorite broken-in boots to a cobbler for a new sole.
Donate and do good
When your relationship with a garment has finally run its course, there are several ways to keep the clothing karma flowing. Drop off clothes and shoes in useable condition at a shelter or charity thrift store. For items a little worse for the wear, donate to Renewal Workshop, an organization that works with brands like The North Face, Toad&Co and Timbuk2 to refurbish or recycle unwanted clothing.
At Zappos, we’re stepping up our efforts to fight climate change and support community initiatives with our Zappos for Good programs. Through our partnership with Souls4Souls, Zappos customers have donated nearly half a million useable items to raise families out of poverty, and we’re helping Native Shoes collect worn-out footwear that will be turned into materials for building playgrounds.
We sponsor the shipping of every Zappos for Good donation — you simply sign in to your account and print out your free shipping label.
Discovering ways to live sustainably is easier than you might think, and can be a lot of fun. Start small by having your next Zappos purchase combined in a single box instead of shipping multiple orders, and reuse the packaging to send in your clothing donation or mail a birthday gift to a friend. You can also shop sustainably on Zappos by supporting brands whose values reflect your own, and use your spending power for good.
Taking care of our planet starts on an individual level, and a world full of folks striving to live greener lives can add up to tremendous change.