Photo: Sara Mc Key

Sustainable Consumption

When you are going to buy something – first ask yourself: do I really need this? Your consumption represents a large part of your climate/carbon footprint. Therefore it is important that you make conscious choices about your shopping.

To reach the long term climate goals we all need to change our way of consumption. The most important areas to look at is how we travel and how we eat, but how we buy and use things also makes a big difference.

Everything that we consume eventually turns into waste. We can decrease the amount of waste by consuming more sustainably by:

  • sharing
  • borrowing
  • reusing
  • buying things that last longer
  • selling and buying second hand.

We can also plan our purchases more extensively. Fairly simple measures can bring good   results both for the environment and for your economy.

Here are some things you can consider, whatever you buy or wherever you shop.

  • Choose products with some kind of eco-label. With an eco-labeled product you know that somebody has selected and assessed relevant information about the environmental impact of the product. If you can´t find products with eco-labels, ask for it. This way you show that there is a demand for this.
  • Keep on the lookout for hazard symbols. They show that a product can be dangerous for your health or for the environment. Learn to recognize them and follow the instructions on them carefully.
  • Choose high quality if you have the option. It is often sustainable to buy something of a higher quality that is more expensive but longer lasting.
  • Can you borrow or rent what you need? Today there are many services where you can rent things you might not need that often. There are also services where you can rent or borrow things for children.
  • Try to repair your things before you buy new ones. If you can´t fix it yourself there are many companies that can repair all sorts of things. By using these services you are contributing to creating new jobs.
  • Say “no thank you” to advertising leaflets. Put up a sign on you letterbox, “Nej tack, ingen reklam”, saying that you do not wish for any advertising leaflets, and contact the NIX-register to avoid personal direct mail.
  • Find out if the product you plan to buy contains chemicals from the EU Candidate list. As a consumer you have the right to know this and the store has to give you an answer within 45 days. 

Take care of clothes and shoes

Clothes and shoes are a large part of our consumption and thereby our environmental impact, or footprint. Clothes and shoes can contain Phthalates and be treated with both antibacterial and water repellant substances. When you wash your clothes these substances enter the water system and our environment, since they are often hard to catch in the water treatment plants.

  • Care for what you have. This way it lasts longer.
  • Find a good shoemaker and a good tailor. By repairing your shoes and clothes you prolong their lifetime.
  • Check so that the waterproofing spray for clothes and shoes are free of Fluorine. This way you can be sure to avoid PFAS, highly fluorinated substances.
  • Ask for Fluorine-free sports clothes and shoes when you shop. Many sports clothes and shoes are treated with highly fluorinated substances to resist humidity, while letting air through. These substances are very difficult for nature to break down and should be avoided.
  • Do not choose sports clothes and shoes branded as antibacterial, bactericidal or anti odor. These contain hazardous substances such as Silver and Triclosan to prevent odor, among other things,. But tests show that the substances are washed away and the garments already loose their function after a couple of washes. The substances follow the water to the water treatment plant, where they are difficult to get rid of.

This is what the experts says