November 23, 2018

Sustainable Shopping (and Shipping) Tips From the WCU Office of Sustainability

downtown west chester shopping

Want to give the Earth some reasons to be thankful while you’re shopping this holiday season? Use some of these tips to make your holiday shopping adventures more sustainable, courtesy of West Chester University’s Office of Sustainability:

  1. Bring your favorite reusable shopping bags and use them for more than just your groceries. Politely refuse single-use bags at shops.
  1. Shop Local, Shop Small: Take advantage of Small Business Saturday and support your local community. Why?

- You’ll be cutting back on your carbon emissions by keeping it local.

- You’re bound to find some truly one-of-a-kind treasures

- You’re supporting local artisans and skilled crafts workers, keeping the money close to home, helping to ensure a healthy local economy.

- Many small stores offer great sales for Small Business Saturday. Call ahead!

- The best place to check for deals will be your local newspaper, chamber of commerce website, or downtown association blog.

  1. Go thrifty! They may not have fancy storefronts, but there are quality finds waiting for you at thrift, second-hand, and consignment stores. Ever see one of those “trash to treasure” TV shows? Who knows what you’ll find! Plus,

- Many consignment shops only take items that have been trending within the last two years.

- Some Goodwill shops have regular sales and special sales, even on Black Friday.

- Some shops have holiday-themed items, boxes of unused greeting cards, wreaths, and more.

- Consider using a consignment purchase such as a scarf instead of wrapping paper. Get inspired!

  1. No matter where you shop, check where the product was made and what it contains. The farther away the country, the more costly to the environment its trip here probably was. And sustainably sourced products may be a little pricier today, but will provide dividends for the planet and future generations in the long run.
  1. You could also avoid store-bought goods altogether (and those long lines and crazy crowds) and spend the weekend crafting homemade gifts instead.


Sustainable Shipping Tips

  1. Shopping online can have a lighter carbon footprint than going to the store, but choose a longer shipping window rather than getting your order in two days or less. Longer shipping time allows Amazon, other shippers, or retailers to group items together and fill their delivery trucks more efficiently, saving fuel. Before you click “Checkout,” ask yourself, “Do I really need those items in two days?”
  1. When possible, opt for shipping in a single shipment, rather than let Amazon send multiple boxes.
  1. After unpacking, break cardboard boxes down, keep them dry and clean, and place them in a recycle bin for collection.
  1. If you’re doing the shipping yourself, the U.S. Postal Service offers tips as well as green packaging, while other shippers also offer eco-friendly suggestions.