5 Things To Look Out For When Shopping More Sustainably

Trying to shop more sustainably? Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

If sustainability is important to you, but sustainable shopping scrambles your brain,  the first steps to a more sustainable lifestyle can feel huge. 

However, that confusion only runs deeper once you realise that a lot of brands and companies are guilty of greenwashing–– a concept where they attempt to make themselves look sustainable when really they’re not. Fast fashion brands are often guilty of this, by introducing “eco-friendly” ranges, which while great, doesn’t cover up the fact that fast fashion isn’t sustainable at all.

Many companies recognise that in the past sustainability may not have been a priority for them and as a result have introduced new schemes to try and create a more sustainable future for everyone.

If you want to be more sustainable here are some things you can look out for when shopping from different companies to see if you’re buying from somewhere that actually is making a positive change and impact on the environment.

Using less water and recyclable materials for clothing


One of the most important elements when it comes to sustainability is shopping somewhere that’s committed to using recyclable materials and less water or energy when it comes to creating clothing. Levi’s creates denim that is re-wearable for years to come but also has clear goals around sustainability in its mission statement.

Levi’s introduced Water<Less processes back in 2011 to try and reduce the amount of water required when producing clothes and to reduce water waste and have since saved almost 13 billion litres of water as of 2020. 

Using water conservation strategies during clothing manufacturing can make a huge difference to the environment and this, along with using renewable and recyclable materials to make clothing, means that once someone is done with their Levi’s jeans they can easily be recycled and used to create more products.

Get a student discount at Levi’s

Cruelty-free ingredients

e.l.f. cosmetics

Being cruelty-free often goes hand in hand with sustainability and that’s because cruelty-free products have a much smaller environmental footprint. Not to mention, you’re saving animals too and can feel good about using and buying a product.

When shopping, it’s important to look out for logos and symbols that show a company or product is cruelty-free. e.l.f. Cosmetics is an affordable beauty brand that sells makeup and skincare that is 100% cruelty-free and vegan with clear logos across the packaging.

That means you can feel good about what’s going on your face AND about helping the environment. Plus, all products are free from phthalates, parabens, and ethoxylates and all skincare is sulfate free so anyone can use them even if you have super sensitive skin.

Not to mention all e.l.f. products are super affordable and some of the best-sellers have gone viral on TikTok multiple times, including the Poreless Putty Primer, Camo Concealer and Camo CC Cream. So, not only will you be helping the planet but you’ll be looking and feeling great on a budget too!

Get a student discount at e.l.f. Cosmetics

Using less or no plastic


Cutting down on plastic should be a goal for everyone and that’s why some brands have been developed with sustainability at the forefront. Chilly’s is a brand that aims to prevent the use of single-use plastic and as a result, has developed plastic-free reusable products that can benefit us every day. Although Chilly’s is best known for its reusable metal water bottles, other products include metal food pots and Beeswax strips to use as food wrapping, instead of the plastic alternative.

You’ll also be able to feel good about shopping from brands that were created with sustainability in mind, as they’ll avoid using plastic in their packaging and have a clear mission statement when it comes to their sustainable efforts.

Get a student discount at Chilly’s

A recycling scheme


In some cases, plastic can’t be 100% avoided, especially when it comes to creating suitable packaging for makeup and cosmetic items. However, that doesn’t mean that packaging can’t be recycled and many companies such as Lush and Mac will offer schemes to encourage shoppers to bring back their empty containers once they’ve been used.

Mac’s Back-To-Mac scheme has been running for over 30 years and asks customers to bring back their empty containers once they’ve finished their makeup products. 

This can include empty eye shadow palettes, lipstick tubes and powder compacts. Mac will then recycle the containers where they can and use them to create new materials and new future Mac packaging, while packaging that can’t be recycled will be converted into energy. 

Mac also aims to reduce waste by allowing customers to create custom pallets that they can refill, rather than buying individual eye shadows or powder compacts. A recycling scheme like this is a sign that a brand is committed to its sustainable efforts, especially if it’s been running for as long as Back-To-Mac has!

Get a student discount at Mac

Using deadstock materials

Lucy & Yak

Deadstock materials are leftover materials that companies no longer want or need, perhaps because they’ve bought or ordered too much or because they no longer want to use it. 

Fast fashion companies will commission and use hundreds of different prints and styles and often won’t get through all the fabric that they make. This means that the fabric will already exist but in many cases will be sat unused and untouched. 

Instead of making new fabric, many brands will make use of deadstock materials that aren’t being used to create something entirely new which saves energy and waste!

Lucy & Yak are a brand that uses deadstock materials and they also have their own recycling scheme allowing you to exchange your old Lucy & Yak clothes for a voucher for some new clothes. There’s also a clear sustainability statement on their website, so you know they’re definitely doing something right.

Get a student discount at Lucy and Yak

Don’t forget to check out all of our great discounts at Student Beans to help you save some cash when you’re looking to start shopping more sustainably!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Levi’s