Even though I'm huge on reusing and recycling and going easy on consumption, I'll admit it: every once in a while, I love going shopping with my girlfriends, too. Apparently it's not just me. I just read an interesting article that says the female love of bargain buys comes from caveman/cavewoman days, when women were the family's gatherers and foragers, searching through forests to find the best-looking berries, and climbing into trees to snatch up the plumpest plums. That gives us a great excuse to throw our hands up in the air and say "Shopping's natural! We can't help ourselves!", but showing love to Mother Earth means being aware of consequences. My solutions? Read on.
1. Buy Used
Instead of heading to the department store when something new strikes your fancy, first try to find it in a more eco-friendly way—from a thrift store, a vintage boutique, or on websites like Craigslist and Ebay. Most of my favorite clothes are vintage or used treasures. Buying that way makes it easier to create a style that's all your own, and keeps you from looking like you just stepped out of a store window.
2. Sell Used
If you're over that pair of brown clogs or that purse you paid too much for, consider re-selling them to a consignment shop or on Ebay. If selling’s not your style, you can always donate your cast-offs to a worthy charity like Dress for Success, which provides professional attire to women for job interviews. Or have a clothing swap with a bunch of friends. Your rejects might be someone else's fave.
3. Share It
On the rare occasion when I rev up to cook a big meal for my family and friends, I often have the annoying experience of discovering, mid-soufflé or mid-marinade, that I don't have the right tool for the job. I finally figured out that instead of going out and buying something I wouldn't use for another year, I could check with a friend (or my mom, who lives down the street) to see if she has one. When we pool our resources, we usually find we have everything we need.
4. Cast Your Vote
As I always say, when we buy we vote for what we believe in. So take a through look at who and what you're supporting. Look for companies that use eco-friendly materials and ingredients, and give back to charities. When you shop with your conscience, you're doing good for others by giving yourself a treat.