We’ve all had to do it over the past year – whether for necessities or for a little retail therapy, curbside pickup or shipped straight to our doorway, shopping online has become an even bigger mainstay of the shopping landscape throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As rules and restrictions change, shopping in person looks different too. As we’ve all had to adjust, if you’re looking for ways to ensure you’re still shopping conscientiously in spite of all these changes, we’ve got some tips on how to practice sustainable shopping during a pandemic.

Avoid impulse purchases

This is a tip we’ve all been told a hundred times, even before the pandemic, but it carries extra weight in the pandemic. Many of our budgets are a bit tighter, and retailers’ changed and changing return policies might make it difficult to give something back if you change your mind. It’s important to prioritize spending in this time and waiting even a couple of days to be sure you want an item means it won’t be sitting unworn in your closet and will help reduce waste.

Give your closet a makeover

In a similar vein, one piece of advice to keep in mind is that the most sustainable piece of clothing you can get is the one you already own. After all, if you’re wearing it, it’s not going to waste. Finding new ways to wear some old items, or taking an opportunity to donate or upcycle the things you no longer wear are great ways to contribute to a sustainable fashion ecosystem.

Shop Local

Small businesses have been hit the hardest by this pandemic, while many consumers turn to big box companies with the most robust online stores to make their purchases. Finding ways to support local shops is a great way to help out small business owners and creators, and your community as a whole. If you’re able to, check your local shops’ social media or websites, or call them up and see how you can give them your business. Additionally, look for places in your neighbourhoods that provide an alternative to more big-box online purchases.

Do your research

This will not only help you find local businesses to support but doing research will also help you find companies and retailers that hold sustainable business practices. Taking the time to look into what companies ethically source their materials and products, or that align themselves with the ‘slow fashion’ movement can help you avoid those impulse purchases. This will also help you make informed decisions about where you want to spend your money.