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April 16, 2014  |  Login
Eco-shopping online: How to make green choices, save time, and even save some money with just a few clicks
By Mikki Halpin

Isn’t it the best when environmental ideals, thriftiness, and saving time all point to the same solution? Take compact fluorescent light bulbs: Good for the planet, and they last so much longer than old-school bulbs, thereby saving money, trips to the store and time spent climbing up on chairs to change the ceiling fixtures.

Online shopping, done right, also serves both the environment and your busy schedule. It’s convenient—sneaky people can even do it at work! —and can be far more carbon-efficient than getting into your car and heading to the store. Of course, online shopping isn’t going to replace the real deal for every purchase your family makes, but following these tips can help you green your family’s clothing buying style without putting a crimp in it. Follow these enviro-shopping tips to keep your clicking earth-friendly.

Don’t Worry—You Can Do This Without Wearing Tide-Dye Caftans and Rope Sandals

The fashion industry is realizing that consumers want chic, wearable apparel that has been produced sustainably and ethically. There are more choices out there than ever, and these items are often easier to find online. Sites like Adili, Stewart Brown, Cool Not Cruel, and Green Loop all have a wide variety of seriously wow-worthy pieces that you can feel good about wearing. Who wouldn’t feel good in this Sarah Zins dress, made from reused and remnant materials?

Use the Internet for What it Does Best: Search

No need to go from store to store, or even mall to mall, looking for what you need. Finding the products you want is easier online, it’s easier to compare prices and find deals, and you can even find products you didn’t already know about. The search term “eco-friendly sneakers,” typed into Google, will return the information that Adidas has a line of shoes made with hemp and recycled materials. — Greenmaven,, is a “green search engine” that uses Google technology to give you results pages full of sustainable, eco-friendly options. Searching “fashion” will give you 158 results, including Tdama, a company that makes incredibly modern, color-blocked hoodies from 89% recycled post-consumer recycled plastic.

Ship Wisely

Online shopping saves you the time you’d spend driving or taking the bus to the store, but when it comes to shipping, taking the slow road is a more eco-friendly choice. Picking 3-day or overnight delivery means your package is coming on a big gas-guzzling airplane. Opt for ground shipping instead. Also, look for information about how your purchase will be packaged. You want a retailer who uses recycled products, and skips Styrofoam peanuts in favor of creative solutions like biodegradable air-filled pillows. If the site where you are shopping doesn’t inform you about the packaging practices, ask. One eco-clothing site, has four pages explaining their carefully thoughtout shipping and packaging choices—and cute clothes to boot. If you buy clothes on Amazon, check out the Facebook application ShipTogether It allows you to pool your purchases with others who live near you to save on shipping costs and reduces the number of times delivery trucks need to drive to your neighborhood. Once again, saving money and saving the world coincide!

You Can Shop Online and Still Support Local Businesses

Online shopping isn’t just for the big chain stores; many locally-owned businesses have websites too. Use the site to see if what you want is in stock and plan your trips accordingly. Even the superhip clothing store down the street from you likely has an online shop. If you’re looking for a black dress and there isn’t one on the site, you’ve saved yourself a trip—and the danger of buying something you don’t need just because you saw it in the store. You can also use the web to find local businesses with green inventory. more

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