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4 Ways to Shop More Sustainably in France

Stall at a flea market in France piled high with textiles

Small actions soon add up and while the world is starting to take note of the importance of adopting a more ethical and environmentally-conscious mindset, there’s still work to do. As with the many other countries, France has experienced an environmental movement in recent years and it’s now more possible than ever before to make a positive impact on our surroundings. Here are a few ways you can shop more sustainably and make a positive change.

Choose ethical brands

Consumers have become increasingly aware of the poor processes and unfair labour conditions associated with fast fashion, but unsustainable manufacturing processes are connected to a wide variety of businesses, not just the fashion industry. When it comes to shopping and making purchases, we need to be clearer about the brands that have adopted an ethical and sustainable approach, whether it’s through the materials they use, the conditions their workers are placed in or the policies they have for repairs and recycling items at the end of their life. Supporting businesses that are making the effort to consider the planet when producing items is critical when you’re living a sustainable lifestyle.

Avoid sending waste to landfills

Swapping out single-use items for reusables or bulk-buys is one of the easiest shifts you can make to shop more sustainably, reducing the amount of waste you produce each week but also to save you money. To-go coffee isn’t a mainstream industry in many areas of France, so making coffee at home is not only more sustainable but also more convenient. By opting for a low energy method such as a French press, pour-over coffee or a stovetop coffee maker, you can keep the waste produced from your morning beverage to a minimum, while also purchasing coffee in recyclable packaging for eco-friendly disposal when you’re done. Recyclable bags make it easier to reduce your waste when buying groceries such as tea or coffee.

Emmaus is a charity which supports the homeless in France. They have stores in most cities and big towns and will be happy to take all types of donations from clothes to books and homeware. They recycle and resell. And of course there are the famous French flea markets where people sell no longer needed items.

Shop local

The food culture in France is one of the richest and most famous in the world, and it’s one of the things that residents and visitors alike love most about this destination. But shopping local is also a great way to adopt a more sustainable approach, as the ingredients will be seasonal and you’ll be supporting local producers and businesses. Not only does buying from local producers help the businesses in your area, but more often than not, the food tastes better and fresher too.

With so many incredibly French products to enjoy, from fresh produce to seafood and decadent dairy products, shopping locally is a sustainable measure that isn’t a chore. Not only does dining locally help support your local economy but it also means the ingredients don’t have hefty airmiles attached from importing them from elsewhere around the globe.

Make use of what exists

Part of shopping sustainably is making use of what’s already been produced, rather than consistently buying more. Whether that’s using up food and drinks you already have before buying more, waiting until a product breaks or is no longer usable before you purchase another, or buying secondhand rather than automatically looking for new, there are various ways to make the most of what’s available around you.

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