Sustainable summer shopping
The York Region Environmental Alliance is asking residents to take a long hard look at the items they’ve been tucking into those reusable shopping bags.
This spring, it published Shop Like the Planet’s Watching, a booklet loaded with tips for greening purchases from food to fashion.
In its quest to raise awareness of environmental issues within raybans the region and promote healthy lifestyle alternatives, the YREA support municipal efforts to do the same.
Shopping, Ms Marsh explains, is directly connected to waste.
York’s nine municipalities are just past the mid point of a 10 year initiative to increase their waste diversion rate of 34 per cent in 2006 to 65 per cent by 2010 and 75 per cent by 2016.
The guide includ raybans es sections for eco friendly approaches to home renos, making cleaning products and clothing shopping.
“If everyone did all these things that would make a big difference,” she says. “We are asking people to commit to changing their habits.”
For older generations, Ms Marsh says, many of the ideas are not new. They turned shirt collars and darned socks, passed clothing from child to child to child and wouldn’t have dreamed of replacing a perfectly good serving dish or area rug because it was not the latest style.
In an effort to up my green quotient, I decided to apply the guide’s rules to some summer shopping
The first step is to make a list. Buying items that you don’t need, won’t wear and will end up tossing is a real waste of your money and the world’s resources. Are there basics you need to replace? Or are you looking for a few trendy pieces to update your look for the season? Plan to buy items that fit perfectly and work with items you have and love.
“Fewer purchases,” YREA says, “equals less demand on crop productivity, less dependence on pesticides and less use of non renewable natural resources.”
The group’s second recommendation is to consider used first. Visit consignment shops, thrift stores or vintage clothing boutiques or host a clothing swap with a group of girlfriends.
When buying new, fabric is key. Look for bamboo or hemp, which have sustainable fast growth and natural pest resistance, organic cotton or recycled polyester. Look for labels that indicate third party certification.
I start at Changes Boutique on Main Street, Newmarket. This store, which specializes in mastectomy clothing and accessories, is selling (and accepting donations of) used handbags to raise money for cancer research.
I find a simple Liz Claiborne purse in camel (a hot neutral this season) for $6.
Then, I head down the street to Still in Style, a used clothing store. I spot a great suede jacket in lime green but, at $56 for a used item, I’d like a better fit. I also pass on a great ’70s inspired cherry red spring coat ($25) because it isn’t on my list and I’ve already committed to buying an Aviva sports skort, which still had original tags and was only $10. I am pleasantly surprised to see a small selection of athletic wear at the store.
Finally, I stop in at the Value Village near the corner of Davis and Yonge streets. Here, I focus my search on jackets and find five possibilities in the $8 10 range. Again a lime green number catches my eye this time Benetton corduroy but again it is not to be. I also decide against a dark grey corduroy and black velvet options, both of which have top buttons in unfortunate spots for my body type. But I do purchase a cute grey and black checked jacket with a wide collar, faux belt at the waist and slight flare below. It won’t really work for summer, but I can definitely match it with black trousers or skirt I already own for fall.
With a few items still to check off my list, it’s time to look for new and sustainable. I begin this search on the Internet. I know from experience looking for a bamboo T shirt or vegan shoes at the mall can be akin to finding the needle in that proverbial haystack. Although I find several Toronto based boutiques specializing in eco fashion as well as few online stores, I can’t find anything similar in York Region.
Instead, I turn to well known chains that have introduced some environmentally friendly fabrics to their mix. Armed with a still shortish list of possibilities, I head to the mall.
At Stance, I hope to find something in hemp, organic cotton or eco certified leather from Simple shoes. But the clerk tells me they only carry raybans the men’s line. I do try on a pair of Toms espadrilles. They are sustainable in a different way for every pair purchased, the company donates a pair to a needy child in Argentina or Ethiopia and some styles contain materials such as hemp and recycled plastic bottles. But for shoes styled like slippers, I expect something a little more comfortable.
Hoping to find some cheap eco chic, I head to H to check out its Garden Collection, which promises items made from organic cotton and linen as well as recycled polyester. I am disappointed with how hard I have to search for these items a flowered blouse on one rack, a peacock blue ruffled tunic on the other side of the store. I try on a brown motorcycle style jacket in organic linen ($40) but don’t feel the love.
Again, I leave the store empty handed.
At Roots, I try on two styl raybans es of organic cotton T shirts V neck and a cute scoop neck with ruffled sleeves. Sticking to my list, I buy two of the V necks, one white, one black (although the store does have a range of colours), for $40 for the pair.
My final stop is Walmart. Yes, Walmart. The retail giant’s George line is dipping its toe into sustainable fabrics. For women, all I find is socks. A four pack of trouser socks in bamboo rayon or organic cotton in $9.46. A two pack of bamboo knee socks is $7. In the men’s department however, there are stacks of T shirts, all $7, made from 100 per cent organic cotton or 85 per cent organic cotton and 15 per cent viscose.
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