Sustainable shopping


Shop locally

  • Use nearest retailers to minimise car use, and so reduce pollution and congestion.
  • Where possible buy locally produced items, otherwise British then European. This will minimise economic and environmental costs of transportation.

Minimise waste

  • Refuse carrier bags, take your own bags - an average of over 320 polythene bags per household are given out by supermarkets per year, ending up in landfill.
  • If everyone used a plastic bag twice the energy used to manufacture 4 billion bags could be saved every year.
  • Buy refill packs e.g. detergents.
  • Buy goods made from recycled materials e.g. tissues, writing paper, look for the 'Buy Recycled' logo on products.
  • Avoid disposable items e.g. cups unless made from recycled materials.
  • Buy in bulk if possible.
  • Question the need for excessively packaged goods.
  • If you cannot reuse coat hangers, shoe boxes etc leave with shop for re-use or recycling.
  • Check Woking Borough Council's 'Really Useful Recycling Directory' for ideas on what to do with unwanted goods. (Visit
  • Where possible, repair items instead of buying new ones.
  • When replacing an item, ask the supplier if the old one can be refurbished or the parts be recycled.

Ethical choices

  • Buy Fair Trade products.
  • Buy organic produce where possible.
  • By produce that has been produced locally, and reduce 'food miles'.
  • A study of food miles by sustain in 2002 added the distance 26 items in a shopping basket had travelled from the source to the store. The total distance was 250, 000km (six times round the world).
  • Buy products from companies with ethical policies towards production of goods and the environment.


  • 'Big Green Smile' is a web site and service informing and providing choice over the UK's widest range of natural products, made with the environment in mind. 
    Tel 0845 230 2365
  • 'Ethical Consumer' is a magazine devoted to ethical purchasing, and promoting environmental sustainability, universal human rights and animal welfare.
    ECRA Publishing Ltd. Unit 21, 41 Old Birley Street, Manchester M15 5RF
    Tel 0161 226 2929
  • The National Recycle Now Campaign Provides guidance regarding purchasing recycled products.
  • Woking Borough Council's 'The Really Useful Recycling Directory'
    Telephone 01483 755 855
  • Which? publications
    All four of the Consumers' Association's main magazines, Which?, Gardening Which?, Health Which? and Holiday Which? can be found on the Internet. Major guides like The Good Food Guide and The Which? Hotel Guide are also available and are published simultaneously with the paper versions. There is a subscription fee, but the publications all provide up to date consumer information.
    Castlemead, Gascoyne Way, Hertford X, SG14 1YB
    Tel 08453 010 010
    Fax 020 7770 7485
  • By Nature
    Is an informational and shopping portal that offers a wide selection of organic and ethical products and brings inspiration for a green lifestyle in the 21st Century.