How to Implement Sustainable Spending Habits When Buying Online

How to Implement Sustainable Spending Habits When Buying Online

British people are shopping online, and they’re doing it a lot. Even as direct-to-consumer reports are showing that most people are spending less, around 88% of UK consumers have made an average of 3.9 purchases within six months. Even more startling, 46% buy items online at least once a week.

That is a lot of spending, plenty of emissions, and a whole lot of waste being produced on a daily basis. Government statistics have even revealed that the UK produces 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste, with a majority of it coming from England alone. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to give up online shopping completely. It’s just about using sustainable spending habits when you buy online. Take a look at some ways to help you achieve that.  

1. Minimise Social Media

One of the best ways to manage your online shopping is to avoid social media and limit how it influences your purchasing decisions. It’s quite fascinating and rather problematic just how social media impacts spending habits for many online users. For starters, users are now more likely to buy something just because they saw an influencer post about it on their feed. 

Brands also have their own social pages now, so you still get ads even if you turn off ads. On top of that, 86 per cent of marketers use shoppable links, making it that much easier to simply buy something as you see it. If you minimise your social media time and make sure that you are wary of influencer content, you can limit unnecessary buying. 

2. Avoid Impulse Buying

There are many reasons that people may buy on impulse, but it often comes down to sales, emotional triggers, social pressure, or generally impulsive behaviour. It’s important to be mindful and make sure that you don’t buy anything you won’t actually use. Too often, people buy things on a whim just for them to collect dust in a corner. 

One of the best ways to make your daily life more sustainable is to consider whether you really plan to use something before buying it. This applies to both wants and needs, as it helps you make your way to less wasteful choices. It also lessens the buyer’s remorse you might have from an item you might later realise wasn’t worth the money. 

3. Consider Consolidated and Eco-Friendly Shipping

Consolidated shipping is sustainable in many ways, as it can reduce the carbon footprint of shipments by batching together your orders and it also decreases the shipping costs you have to pay. 

You can also offset the emissions from your order by choosing stores and methods that are more eco-friendly. Cycling is a great means of transport as it does not produce any emissions, and there are many delivery services and companies that make use of bike delivery these days to have cost-friendly means to aid the environment. Sure, it might mean you don’t get your delivery quite as quickly, but it’s a pretty small adjustment to make. 

4. Explore Second-Hand Markets

Reusing goods that are perfectly good can be another way to spend sustainably. It’s (usually) a fraction of the cost of a brand-new item and also extends the lifespan of the product by staying in use. Instead of things just getting discarded into a trash pile, they get a second wind with a new owner. 

If you’re wary of buying things from random sellers online, you’ll find that there are plenty of legitimate secondhand markets that have online stores. In 2021, there were 4,082 active secondhand stores in the UK. The options are there, and you may just be surprised at what hidden gems you find. 


5. Opt for Minimal Packaging

Much of the waste and environmental impact of online shopping comes from packaging. It accounts for about 40% of all plastic produced, and the UK generated 2.5 million metric tons of it in the last year. Though it may not seem like much to you, opting for minimal packaging can do wonders if you frequently shop online. 

Alternatively, you can also check out stores or brands that use eco-friendly materials. Nowadays, you see mindful brands use upcycled bags, biodegradable packaging peanuts, cornstarch packaging containers, and paper wrap to contain products in a way that is much more forgiving for the environment. 


Read on:

A guide to zero waste shopping

Small things you can do to reduce waste in your life

Holding onto happiness - how to be more happy

Electric bikes - questions to ask yourself when buying

Ways for your family to save money

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