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One Thing You Can Do: Sustainable Holiday Shopping

The New York Times

Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season this week and, according to a recent survey, sustainable shopping is on a lot of people’s minds this year.

For example, half of respondents in the survey, which was conducted by the consulting firm Accenture, said they would opt for lower-carbon delivery options — like slower shipping or in-store pickup — if possible when doing their holiday shopping.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to give yourself those greener options: Start early.

If you get going sooner rather than later, you’ll avoid the need for expedited shipping, which often means more trips, and less-efficient ones, by delivery trucks. And, it’ll be easier to consolidate your items into fewer deliveries. Best of all, you’ll probably give more thoughtful gifts. A bit more time for research means fewer panic purchases that are likely to be returned.

“Buy less and buy well,” recommended Shilpi Chhotray, a spokeswoman for The Story of Stuff Project, a nonprofit group. “The gifts we can give can be thoughtful and helpful instead of impractical and contributing to more clutter.”

If you shop at brick-and-mortar stores, try to avoid single-purpose car trips. Rather, combine your holiday buying with other errands or do it on your way home from work. That, said Miguel Jaller, who studies sustainable transportation systems at the University of California, Davis, means “the marginal distance for doing that shopping is really, really small.”

But it’s not just how you get the gift that matters. It’s also about the gift itself. So, consider used items.

That might not be for everyone. But, roughly half of people surveyed by Accenture said they’d be glad to give and receive secondhand things. And, we’re not talking about shabby castoffs. Think about distinctive collectibles, beautiful old books, vintage jewelry and antique household items.

Read the full and original article at The New York Times

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