Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

How to Shop Green

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Today we welcome a young new contributor to the Buzz – Sky Bello.  Check out her bio below…and we hope you’ll enjoy getting to know her!


Summer break, a wonderful two months away from tests and homework, is often viewed as the perfect opportunity to finally reinvent oneself. With the heat comes the resurfacing of all of those forgotten New Year’s resolutions, which unsurprisingly, leads to an increase in consumerism. Whether it’s changing your wardrobe, getting new room decor, or picking up on a new hobby, excessive shopping is inevitable. But more shopping can also mean more waste for landfills.  So with each purchase, it’s good to remember that we can always find ways to be more environmentally conscious.


Harmful Shopping Materials


Some shopping-related materials, such as plastic packaging, or gas used from driving to the mall, are incredibly harmful to the environment. According to a recent article in Environmental Health News, “People are exposed to chemicals from plastic multiple times per day through the air, dust, water, food and use of consumer products.” This chemical exposure is from microplastics, which are very small, mostly undetectable pieces of degraded, larger plastic materials. But one way we can limit the amount of microplastics in the world is by using fabric bags when shopping, and ordering from businesses that use biodegradable packaging.

So where can we shop while being environmentally conscious?


Local Shopping Recommendations


In the Larchmont area, there are many eco-friendly businesses that specialize in sustainable products. Supporting these companies is not only good for the environment, since it encourages the use of environmentally conscious practices, but also because, according to an article from the Illinois Times, “Local businesses often employ members of the community, which translates to shorter commutes, less highway congestion and less fuel consumption. So while shopping locally reduces your carbon footprint, it’s also helping members of your community reduce their own potentially negative impact on the environment.”

Though we are fortunate to have many local options, sustainable brands can often be quite pricey, due to the time and effort required to make their products. But affordability isn’t an issue with places such as thrift stores and yard sales. Shopping secondhand, whether at vintage specialty shops or other kinds of second-hand outlets, is a great way to prevent already-made products from ending up in landfills. It also decreases the demand for new merchandise, resulting in less material being produced, less depletion of natural resources, and less waste being created.

Here are some local vintage and/or thrift store recommendations:

  • People of Los Angeles – 129 North Larchmont Blvd.
  • Melrose Trading Post – 7850 Melrose Ave. (This flea market, open every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., features original art and craft items as well as vintage, second-hand and collectible merchandise.)
  • Crossroads Trading Center -7409 Melrose Ave.
  • Buffalo Exchange – 7912 Melrose Ave.
  • Goodwill – 817 South La Brea Ave.
  • Jet Rag – 825 North La Brea Ave.
  • Out of The Closet – 4905 Hollywood Blvd. (This thrift store provides free rapid HIV testing and puts 96 cents of every dollar made towards HIV and AIDS treatment services.)

Farmers’ markets are also an effective way to shop sustainably. As stated by an article from Columbia Climate School, unlike most small farming businesses, large farming corporations, “Deplete nutrients from the soil with every planting, because they plant the same things again and again and don’t rotate their fields. To balance out this depletion, commercial farms require tons of fertilizer just to give the plants the nutrients they need to survive….This practice leaves commercial agriculture fields full of chemical fertilizers that run off into local water supplies, damaging other flora and fauna in the surrounding ecosystem.” Supporting smaller family farms, and spending less with larger farming corporations can help limit further damage to ecosystems and the environment. If you’re able to do so, a great place to move your at least some of business is your local farmers’ market.

Here are some of our city’s many local farmers’ markets:


Moderation is Key


Shopping green isn’t just about where you shop, it’s also a mindset. A large part of making a sincere, well-thought-out purchase is being able to understand the concept of moderation. This method is not only an effective way to help save the environment, but also your money. If you’re new to a hobby such as cooking or knitting, there is no need to jump straight into the deep end by buying ten spools of yarn or a month’s worth of ingredients. More often than not, this will lead to several pounds worth of spoiled produce in the trashcan or nine and a half spools of yarn tucked away into your closet for the next decade. Fully submerging yourself into an activity from day one can often leave you feeling overwhelmed, therefore increasing the likelihood of you losing interest in your new hobby. To prevent this from happening, you can slowly ease into your activities by only buying a small amount of materials to start out with, and once you have used them up, you can repeat this purchase with an increased amount.

But avoiding too-frequent purchases is also important, especially if you’re ordering your materials online. This is because, according to Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student in Environmental Science at Radboud University in the Netherlands, quoted in a recent story from CNN, “Many buy items online frequently — but they only buy a few items per purchase….Frequent online purchases produce more packaging waste, and online items tend to come from different distribution centers. Both factors result in higher greenhouse gas emissions per item.”

So after your beginning materials have been fully used and you are planning on restocking, it’s good to evaluate how long it took for you to use your supplies, and how motivated you are to continue with the activity. That will help you find the optimal quantity for your next purchase.


Making the Effort


There are many different aspects to changing the way you shop. Due to financial and time constraints, certain changes may be unachievable for some, and that’s okay.  What’s most important is that we all make an effort in some way. So whether you bring a fabric bag to the store, or buy from your local farmers’ markets, every action counts.



Sky Bello is a resident of Sycamore Square and a 10th grader at Girls Academic Leadership Academy. Her favorite school subjects are math and history, and she hopes to one day become a microbiologist.


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