A Guide to Online Sustainable Shopping

We know sustainability is growing in importance – and rightly so. It’s legislatively important, as the UK moves toward reaching its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and it’s ethically important- as consumers are demanding to see more sustainable practices from brands.

On an individual level, being aware of how our actions impact on the planet and on other people means we can make a stand against issues like climate change, plastic pollution, and unethical manufacturing practices.

But how do you go about shopping sustainably in the modern-day? In this guide, we’ll look at online shopping, which accounts for around 36% of all shopping activity in the UK – a huge portion of the market and presents a big opportunity area for positive climate impact.

So, how can you make your online clothes shopping more sustainable?

Is online shopping sustainable?

Online shopping can be sustainable – even more so than shopping in physical stores. But, like anything else, it takes a bit of effort to master.

Shopping on the web can grant you the convenience of browsing in comfort and having your order delivered to your door, which equates to fewer car journeys to the shops and a reduction in CO2 emissions. That’s a win for the environment – and for your conscience.

However, there’s a lot more to think about when it comes to online shopping. For example, the psyche of the buyer is something to think about; could you be prone to buying for the sake of fast fashion and having an ‘everything, now’ mindset? Cultural considerations such as these can influence the quantity and quality of the clothes you buy- which can really add up from an environmental perspective.

At Brand Threads, we’re striving to help educate people on all parts of the unsustainable shopping mix – not only by giving shoppers ethically produced and sustainable clothing options, but also through suggesting actionable steps you can take to start prioritising sustainability when shopping online.

So, here are five simple ways you can be more conscious of sustainability when shopping for clothes online:

1. Consider recycled fabrics

Choosing recycled fabrics is a great way to keep sustainability in mind when you shop for clothes online.

Clothing and textiles of all kinds can be recycled, depending on how pure the fibres are, but man-made materials like plastic can be recycled to create clothes, too.

Our range of soft, snuggly onesies and robes are made from recycled polyester wherever possible – which reduces dependence on petroleum as the raw material in our fabrics cuts back on waste sent to landfill.

Around 22 recycled plastic bottles are given a new lease of life when they become a Brand Threads robe, and that rises to 31 bottles for onesies!

2. Check environmental credentials

If sustainability is something you prioritise when shopping online, take a few minutes to check out a brand’s environmental credentials before parting with your cash.

An online search or a check through a brand’s website should give you the lowdown on the business’ environmental stance and whether they’re taking any steps to protect the planet.

There are various ways brands can counter the environmental effects of the fashion industry, including using sustainable and recycled materials and taking back customers’ unwanted used clothing to be recycled.

Another option is to offset carbon emissions with tree planting projects – we work with Ecologi to plant a tree for every order we receive. So far, we’ve planted more than 20,000 trees – and counting!

3. Choose a brand that’s making a positive impact

Sustainability doesn’t only relate to reducing environmental impact, it also takes into account how our actions affect people and communities right now, and in future generations.

There’s been a lot of press in recent years about unethical clothes manufacturing practices, including the use of child labour. It’s absolutely vital to boycott brands that continue to use modern slavery – there are no two ways about it.

At Brand Threads, we strongly believe in contributing to a society that’s fairer for everyone, which is why we’re a member of Sedex – an organisation on a mission to improve working conditions in global supply chains.

As well as standing up for better working conditions and protection for workers, we also give back to communities in need. We also plant trees with every order. It’s all traceable and can be viewed on the Ecologi website.

 4. Check their packaging policy

Packaging alone accounts for a fifth of the UK’s waste output – equating to five million tonnes each year.

While packaging is often necessary to protect products, it’s a growing problem – one that many clothing brands are acting on.

When you’re buying sustainable clothing online, look for retailers who are taking steps to minimise their packaging, or switching to greener options like recyclable wrapping.

We not only use recycled materials to create our character clothing wherever possible but also in our packaging.

All of our products are shipped using recycled packaging to reduce our environmental impact, so if sustainability is a priority for you when it comes to online shopping, you can order from us with a clear conscience.

5. Buy in bulk and choose standard delivery

The main environmental benefit of online shopping is that one van trip can replace dozens of car journeys, which reduces emissions.

Placing a large order and choosing standard or slower delivery is the most carbon-efficient way to shop online, because it means you’ll need to place fewer orders, resulting in fewer van rounds.

Buying a single item and later placing another order for items that could have been grouped together generates more CO2 than a single order, and choosing express delivery can mean that the van isn’t filled to capacity with orders – once again increasing emissions.

Choosing slower delivery means the van is more likely to be full. If you’re struggling to find products you want or need, consider whose birthday is coming up and see if you can add to your order by stocking up with presents.

Sustainable shopping at Brand Threads

Sustainability incorporates a range of aspects: climate, waste, ethical standards, the environment – and more. We try to cover all bases at Brand Threads, taking a holistic approach to the sustainability of online shopping.

We operate under a code of conduct with the following traits at its core: Ethical, Respectful, Honesty, Integrity. Creating quality character clothing with a conscience is our mission, so we embed sustainability in everything we do.

For more information on how we’re helping to make online shopping more ethical, take a look at our sustainability commitment and find out how we’re helping to play a part this Earth Day. Plus, next time you’re thinking of investing in some new clothes for yourself or your little one, why not consider our character clothing for kids and adults? Made from organic and recycled materials, every order is a vote for a cleaner, greener, and fairer world – both today, and for future generations.