Looking for easy ways to shop ethically? Give these 5 tips a try:
1. Switch Out Your Daily Cup of Joe
Coffee is one popular commodity that has a less than perfect background with production. Coffee plantations often are not environmentally friendly and workers are often subjected to unfriendly conditions with long hours, no breaks, and pesticides. Fair trade coffee is a simple switch that tastes as good if not better and still gives the pick me up you need. There are many options in the grocery store, but you also can order online at stores like Equal Exchange and Thrive Market.
Photo from treehugger.com
2. Change Your Produce
Produce, especially bananas, is often grown in plantations that use pesticides that harm the earth and workers, provide no protection for workers, and provide low wages and poor housing to workers. Organic produce is a start, but trying to aim and buy one fair trade item each week to replace your normal groceries. Some of it even tastes better! If you do not have a grocery store with fair trade products around, you can go to farmers markets to know you are still buying produce made on local farms rather than shipped in from international plantations. The Fair Trade USA website features information on fruits and vegetables as well as fair trade producers to make the search a bit easier. Learn more at fairtradeusa.org.
3. Pick Lasting Pieces for Your WardrobeAnother way to add fair trade is to buy fair trade clothing when you need new wardrobe staples. Fair trade production is higher quality and lasts longer than massed produced clothing, and you can also feel good about it. At Tropic Bliss, rather than produce clothes in factories, seamstresses work to craft beautiful, high quality clothes in Thailand and are paid fair wages and benefits for their work. The results are stunning, comfortable, and are crafted from organic materials.
4. Support Small with Jewelry PurchasesMajor jewelry brands are known for using sweatshops to produce metal jewelry that involves terrible factory conditions and toxic chemicals with little safety precautions. Rather than purchasing these pieces, fair trade jewelry is a common find that is great because it supports local artists and allows them to earn a fair living with their craft rather than work in factories. Fair trade jewelry is often more unique too, using recycled materials like paper to make beads and having personalized, one of a kind touches. Serving From Home has rounded up some great shops with all styles of jewelry.
5. Buy Paper Flowers
One final way to go fair trade is to stop buying supermarket flowers! As beautiful as they are, supermarket flowers have a history behind them. They are grown on farms that use high amounts of pesticides that hurt the environment and the workers who make low wages. Then, the flowers are flown from Ecuador and other international locals in large planes that leave a huge carbon footprint. Finally, once you purchase the flowers, they only last a week. If you love really flowers, try and look for fair trade or locally grown floral arrangements. To step it up a notch though, buy paper flowers! Some shops make super realistic looking flowers out of recycled materials that last forever and help the environment and provide fair work for workers.
Shop beautiful options like this one from LaDiwithaBaBy on Etsy.