How to Shop More Ethically This Holiday Season

Large online retailers attractive, with benefits such as two -day shipping, the option to try at home before paying, and the ease of buying your pajamas. The problem is, these facilities come at a cost to individuals, communities, and the environment. But there’s good news: There’s something you can do about it, and you have more control than you think.

Traditional voting — with your ballot — is just as important as ever, but it has great power in deciding where and how you spend your money. Buying with a conscience is a way of making small choices that add to big changes.

Stay Close to Home

Buying locally is the best way to support your community. the US Small Business Administration started National Small Business Week in 1963 and has cosponsored Small Business Saturday with American Express since 2011. Launched AmEx Shop Small, which included Small Business Saturday, in 2010 to help retailers during the economy and spent $ 200 million on strengthening small businesses during the pandemic.

Bill Brunelle is the cofounder of We Stand Independent, created to celebrate local brands and provide small businesses with marketing tool kits that offer infrastructure and support. Members receive everything from graphics with slogans like “Buy Good Things From Real People” and social media guides to advice on point-of-sale systems. IWS is now a network of over 10,000 mom-and-pop shops, and it has mobile app to help consumers find stores.

Brunelle says there is an emotional side to shopping near home, and since the pandemic, people have been more motivated than ever. “Saving more money in the community means better roads, better schools, better parks, higher -paying teachers,” he says, “Your hard -earned dollars are even more. if it is stored locally. ” For added motivation, IWS provides a list of 10 items that will happen if you shop locally.

the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, published in 2004, determined that for every $ 100 spent locally, $ 68 would remain in the community. If the same $ 100 is spent on a national chain, only $ 43 remains in the community. Brunelle warns consumers about “local washing,” when large box stores use “local” in their marketing but it’s unclear how they mean it.

“You know local power is real when national and international chains like Walmart and Target use the word LOcAl in their marketing because they know people want to shop locally, “Brunelle said. She encourages shoppers to think critically to avoid falling victim to local washing. their definition of local could be 500. miles away. You can’t buy a locally grown Minnesota pineapple in January. “

Buy and Secondhand

Buying at locally-owned stores is a start, even if there’s a caveat, and it’s a hard pill to swallow for many Americans: As long as you can want new thing, you don’t have to must new thing. Shopping at garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, secondhand stores, and antique stores uses items that are already in circulation and is also a unique way to get to know your neighbors.

In Missoula, Montana, where I have lived most of my adult life, we have stores like The Cellar Door, which uses the hashtag #nothingnewforyou and whose mission is to “curate the space and places of what’s already here,” and @piraso, transforming pieces of wood, leather, and rope and modernizing upholstered furniture using fun, funky cloth. Chances are there are charity -run stores or similar stores in your area, and you don’t always have to run straight to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, even if those are also options.

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