Green Corner: Save money by shopping sustainably

As you shop for new fall fashions, what is the first thing you think about? Some people think about their budget, while others may think about what their new style should look like. Instead of thinking those things right away, I dare you to ask yourself a few new questions first, such as “What do I have in my wardrobe already that I can possibly re-use and re-wear?” It’s one less item to buy, one less thing to go into the trash and you will save money.
For the things you can’t use again in the fall, save them for a different season; just because they’re a year old doesn’t mean they’re out of style. Things that may not fit anymore can be donated to those who are less fortunate. Don’t forget you can always use the old clothing as rags, pieces of a quilt, a new bag and a multitude of other things. There is no reason that pieces of gently-used clothing should be going in the garbage. Reduce buying new things, re-use what you already have or what someone else has given to you and recycle the things that you can no longer wear into new things.
There are some stores that try tricking you into thinking that they’re on the path to becoming a more sustainable business, but don’t be fooled. Last year, according to Forever 21’s website, it put out a line of reusable bags that were inexpensive, and sent a message of sustainability, such as “reduce, re-use and recycle,” and “forever green.” When taking a further look at Forever 21, it turns out that about 500 of their products are made in the U.S. and more than 7,000 products are imported. It has effective sustainable procedures in place, like replacing lighting in all stores to reduce energy usage and recycling all shipment boxes.
There are some places that do not advertise, but are becoming sustainable as well, such as the Gap Inc., which includes Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperline and Athleta. On its website there’s an excerpt on how the stores are becoming sustainable. Some of their green highlights include a 20 percent absolute reduction in their Green House Gas Emissions by the year 2015, participation in the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and collabortation with the National Resources Defense Council for yearly advice on how they can keep improving. The Gap Inc. has many other sustainable components to its company, and is working toward becoming more sustainable every day.
The website www.rankabrand.org ranks companies by their sustainability, and it can be a great tool to use before you go shopping. There are brands that are not yet ranked on the website; however, it allows you to make suggestions on what to rank next. Try it out the next time you go out and you make your shopping list. Here’s a quick tip: Choose organic items or items produced in the U.S., and always think about this question before you make a purchase, “How can I possibly buy clothes that are more sustainable?”
-Gianna Pannullo
WCC Eco-Rep

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