Shopping miles are a measure of the energy and pollution associated with moving whatever it is you're buying from its source to your retailer or home. These miles can quickly add up, especially where the raw materials used to produce the item are sent to another country before being assembled and then distributed. With a little thought you can reduce your shopping miles, minimising energy expenditure and emissions that contribute to climate change.
With a small amount of space you can start a balcony garden, a wall garden or an indoor garden, and don't forget your local community garden. By growing your own food you will eliminate all packaging, plus the energy expenditure and emissions associated with transportation of food. You'll also save money.
Buying locally, from clothing to groceries to books, will support the local economy and employment, and minimise energy expenditure and emissions associated with transport. Buying Australia-made – or where possible, Victoria-made – means fewer miles travelled, so less pollution associated with climate-change.
Choosing food that is in season reduces the demand for produce that's out of season, supports local farming and businesses, and reduces transportation and refrigeration associated with the food (food miles). For the freshest, most nutritional produce, buy food that was grown or made locally.
Online shopping is a convenient way to shop, but what about the shopping miles associated with it? Where did the raw materials come from? Where was the product assembled? Where is the warehouse that is sending it to you? And what about all of that packaging? Online shopping for fashion can be even more problematic, in that you might send it back it you don't like it or it doesn't fit. If online shopping is unavoidable, think about buying in bulk rather than one item at a time. Choose carefully and consider gifting items that aren't quite right, where possible. And remember to recycle any packaging.
Walking, cycling or catching public transport when you shop will reduce your shopping miles and help you get some exercise. It also makes sense to plan your shopping trip before you go, to ensure you get as much done in one trip as possible.
Every time we purchase a product or service – gifts, food, fashion, a property, appliances, a hot water system and our energy suppliers – we have the option to shop sustainably. Decide on an area that's important to you and start making a difference through your choices.
“Working together, we pledge to play our part and take action on climate change for Victoria, our country and our planet.”
Join thousands of others already playing their part to help keep the temperature rise under two degrees, so we can avoid the worst of climate change.
We can make a difference, if we all act today for a better tomorrow.
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