PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The National Retail Federation survey shows more than 57% of U.S. consumers are reassessing their purchasing habits due to climate change, and nearly six in ten consumers are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact
So, where can you shop when you are looking for the most sustainable option? The answer— start local. FOX43 spoke to four local businesses that are helping to combat climate change one step at a time.
Carolyn Dorwart, the owner of Woodburne Naturals says, "When you purchase something from a small business, first of all it means so much to us, but it is also incredibly unique."
"We go with the tagline— You wore it, now what?" Bobbi Buchmeyer-Friend, the owner of Twice Upscale Resale in York says.
Twice Upscale Resale's mission is to give gently used wedding dresses a second, third and even fourth life.
"Growing up shopping resale ourselves and for our daughters, that it's super important to get great use out of these gowns. We spend a great deal of money on them, so to have them for three to four hours, we definitely want to give them multiple lives," says Buchmeyer-Friend.
Multiple lives, with a multiplying impact on improving the environment.
According to a Princeton Study, the fashion industry is currently responsible for more annual carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. In addition, a whopping 57% of clothes go to the landfill every year.
By shopping at local consignment shops and second hand stores, you are not only saving the environment, but also your wallet.
"We are an affordable option, you can come here to shop and find an array of designers" Angelica Friend says.
Woodburne Naturals in Lewisberry makes unique products that create low waste alternatives to every day products, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash and dish soap. Owner Carolyn Dorwart suggests you approach low waste living one swap at a time.
Dorwart continues, "and we can do that as we walk around our home and just think, is there a different way to do this? And a lot of times there is."
Consumers who are looking for products that are better for the environment can push businesses to offer these products more often.
"I am even noticing it as I am connecting with low waste businesses, more and more people are asking for it and as we connect locally, there can be more easily available," says Dorwart.
Frank Fox with Sustainable Composites LLC in Lancaster County, is turning leather scraps into a new product that replicate the look, feel, smell, and performance of leather at a significantly lower environmental cost.
He and his partner were previously scientists with a love for recycling.
"When you use a piece of our leather you bypass the same amount of leather that would go to a tannery," says Fox.
According to Specialty Fabrics, 25 to 60% of product in the tanning process becomes waste due to natural defects. Because of this, an estimated 3.5 billion pounds of leather scraps end up wasted.
"We decided we are actually going to take the leather particles apart and put them back together" says Fox. "What we found out was that Mother Nature did not give her secrets easily, we had to do a lot of chemistry and a lot of evaluations."
When it comes to shopping for gifts this holiday season, look for small eco-friendly businesses like Mollyaucontraire.
The owner, Molly Cahill makes jewelry from second hand items that would otherwise be thrown away.
"Purchasing something that has sentimental value or perhaps you spend a little more on it than going to Target, means you will be more responsible and you are not going to be bringing in something to your home that you are just going to throw away," says Cahill.
Ethical sourcing and business practices is something Cahill is passionate about. She also offsets all of her carbon emissions by collecting and reusing materials from the community to make her products.
"I want to make something that you want to hold on to for years to come" says Cahill.