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The New York Times on Sustainable Shopping

October 19, 2018

Every week, The New York Times guides readers through the labyrinthine world of fashion and shopping in their Open Thread newsletter. Sustainability comes up frequently, and two of the most recent questions happened to fit especially neatly into the Good Companies universe: how to shop ethically without breaking the bank, and how to cut back on your environmental footprint this holiday season.

On the subject of affordable sustainable shopping, NYT reporter Vanessa Friedman noted that the fashion industry supply chain is so complicated and opaque that it’s hard — if not impossible — to know what you’re really buying. Rather than drive yourself crazy digging into the practices of every company, she suggests rethinking your buying habits. Try buying fewer items with higher price tags, and learn to see each purchase as a long-term investment rather than something disposable.

Buying vintage, recycled, or upcycled items is a wonderful option because it ensures pieces continue to live on, a philosophy key to many Good Companies:

  • Sword & Plough: makes accessories and clothes made from military surplus.
  • Faire Collection: designs apparel and accessories made from reclaimed materials.
  • MUD Jeans: allows shoppers to lease jeans or buy vintage jeans.
  • Stormie Dreams: creates vintage women’s fashion from local upcycled materials.
  • AEON Row: gives shoppers a discount when they recycle their old wardrobe and designs clothes using repurposed fabrics.
  • Better World Fashion: makes and leases jackets and bags from upcycled leather.
  • Reformation: uses 15% vintage or dead stock materials in their clothing.

As to how to go green with your holiday shopping, it’s a deceptively simple question with a potentially huge impact: Americans are expected to spend over $100 billion dollars online this holiday season. Delivery trucks may cause pollution, but according to Eduardo Garcia and The New York Times, shopping online is still a better option for the environment than starting up your car to head to the mall yourself.

Choosing a Good Company is a great start, but what else can you do to ensure your holiday stays as green as possible?

  1. Buy in Volume — one big order versus. several small ones = fewer trucks.
  2. Plan Ahead — standard or economy shipping allows for fewer and more efficient routes.
  3. Be Certain — returns lead to more vehicles on the road and carbon in the air.
  4. Recycle — make sure you properly dispose of all shipping and packing materials.
  5. Stay Online — once you’ve decided to shop on the internet, avoid going to brick-and-mortar shops too or it all cancels out.