4 Ways to be a More Responsible Consumer

Being a more responsible and ethical consumer requires some effort, but there are plenty of things you can do that don’t involve completely changing how you live. If you are interested in being a more responsible consumer, below are 4 ways to get you started which, both together and individually, can have an outsized impact on how you, as a consumer, impact the world around you.

Choose More Eco-Friendly Credit Cards
Most people have at least one credit card, and most people would like to do more charitable giving than they do. Eco-friendly credit cards are a great way to do something good with each purchase you make. These cards partner with various charities and non-governmental organizations around the world, from humanitarian to conservationists, and allocate a percentage of each dollar you spend to their partner organization. If you use your card regularly, you could end up contributing a significant amount to these environmental and philanthropic organizations over the course of a year. 

Look at the Labels
Many people grab items off the shelf at the grocery store without paying close attention to the product’s supply chain. Because of the uptick in ethical consumerism over the last several years, as well as increased pressure from governments and citizens, many companies have either changed their business model to be more sustainable or are going out of their way to let consumers know they already are. Fairtrade, rainforest alliance, ocean-wise, non-GMO, etcetera are just some of the ways that manufacturers and producers let people know that they are making a more ethically-minded purchase. 

Buy Second Hand
Buying second-hand is always a good way to decrease your carbon footprint as a consumer because you are helping decrease the demand for new products. Whether that is second-hand clothing or refurbished electronics, there are plenty of ways to buy things to use in your daily life that are not brand new but still good quality. There are plenty of places to buy used goods online, from clothing to musical instruments. 

Eat Less Red Meat
One of the most significant contributors to your carbon footprint as a consumer is the amount of red meat you consume. Raising cattle is incredibly land and carbon-intensive. In fact, cattle farming in the Amazon is responsible for most of the mass deforestation in the Amazon. Eating a lot of red meat has also been linked to cardiovascular disease. If you want to immediately improve the impact your consumption habits have on the world, make a point to substitute red meat for other forms of protein or to commit to only eating cow meat every once in a while. 

At the end of the day, a lot of the environmental destruction and degradation that takes place around the world comes down to the decisions of individual consumers. People want to consume the things they want to consume, and the downstream and upstream effects of those consumption choices are afterthoughts. The above, however, are three things you can do that do not require massive alterations to your life and which can have an outsized impact. 

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