Dancers dressed in recycled plastic costumes
Oceans highlights sustainable shopping for a greener future amid the climate crisis. Richard A. Brooks/AFP

The latest study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that climate change is the most pressing health concern we face today.

As the need to solve this global catastrophe rises, experts emphasise the importance of long-term solutions to reduce its devastation. Experts at Oceans, a part of the UK's leading tissue converter, Accrol Group, have weighed on the climate change debate in the UK.

Oceans' Brand Marketing Manager Jordan Kelly, said shopping more sustainably is a great way to 'do our bit' and lessen the devastating impact of global warming. The appropriate course of action, however, is not always obvious, she added.

Kelly stated that in a positive turn of events, a growing number of recent developments are encouraging and facilitating environmentally responsible consumer practices. She stated that by making a few changes to their usual purchase habits, individuals may actively contribute to positive change.

Instead of customers engaging in excessive shopping, Kelly encouraged shoppers to consider finding more sustainable options for their needs. Oceans delve into five of the most talked-about topics in eco-friendly consumerism today.

The company noted that the growing climate emergency has led to an increase in the use of the term "sustainable shopping", but that some firms overcomplicate the concept and turn off potential customers. In a nutshell, sustainable shopping involves doing research on a product's potentially negative effects on people and the planet before buying it. By adopting this approach, customers start to be more conscientious about what they buy and start looking for alternatives that are easier on the planet.

One growing trend that Oceans promotes as an ethical buying option is Upcycling. Instead of purchasing a new product (and thereby contributing to the social and environmental repercussions), Oceans noted that customers should first investigate whether there is an old product that may be revitalised. For instance, instead of purchasing a new desk, Oceans recommends mending small flaws, cleaning the wood, and refinishing the frame to save money and reduce carbon footprint.

Additionally, Oceans lists mobile and tablet apps as another approach to supporting sustainable buying practices. According to the company, there are applications for everything and more, and those related to climate change and sustainable buying are particularly useful.

For instance, To be Too Good to Go, an app that allows customers to buy cheap "Surprise Bags" full of unsold food from participating restaurants and businesses like Greggs, Toby Carvery and Costa that the company identified several instances of such apps that are making a difference. The Kitche app also assists in reducing waste by allowing consumers to import their food and keep track of what they have at home, as well as providing recipes to ensure that no ingredients go to waste.

Furthermore, Freegle encourages Brits to reuse and decrease waste by providing a simple way to share and receive items that would otherwise be discarded. Cables, furniture, and plant pots are among the items. Vinted, another platform, has used clothes and accessories on the app, which allows users to avoid buying new and instead acquire pre-loved items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

Oceans also observed that people are beginning to demand products created or packaged using recycled materials, which means businesses and retailers must adapt – or risk losing paying customers. Notable examples are Dell, Adidas and Garnier, three global firms, that have vowed to employ recycled materials in their product manufacturing.

The tissue paper company noted that Garnier, the world's largest natural beauty brand, creates shampoos and hair care products that are 91 per cent biodegradable on average. Similarly, Adidas uses yarn derived from 50 per cent ocean plastic and half recycled polyester in the creation of their clothing.

Another aspect that has come under criticism is the materials used to package things. Oceans cited that Dell employs 50 per cent ocean-bound plastic and half recycled HDPE plastic in the moulded trays used to package some gadgets. Some products are now plastic-free in their packaging; customers can now buy plastic-free toilet paper, hair care products, cleaning supplies and other items.

Previously, retailers and manufacturers were far too comfortable with the idea of creating items that could be used and then discarded. The circular economy concept now encourages the design and manufacture of items with a "make, use and then remake" framework.

This business concept, according to Oceans, entails far more than just recycling. Instead, manufacturers must conceive a completely new approach to manufacturing items that have existed for millennia.

Oceans emphasised it is not just about creating something using sustainable materials; products must be designed for multiple uses as well as easy repair and maintenance. The company advised to dispose once all reuse and repair alternatives have been exhausted.

On the circular economy business concept and how it can be realised, Oceans urged businesses to be creating items with the goal of making them last as long as feasible while also providing better and easier repair options in the event of a fault; reusing and repairing products; making items easy to recycle by designing them such that they can be easily disassembled and recycled; and remanufacturing products

Three global brands that are investing in the circular economy include Adidas, Ikea, and Burger King. According to Oceans, the more companies that adopt this environmentally beneficial approach, the more equipped we will be to battle climate change.

As a result, Oceans is urging shoppers on the need to begin giving back if they are to have a realistic chance of combating climate change. The organisation believes that "retail therapy does not have to be at the expense of the environment".

The tissue-producing company noted that recognising that there is more to buying a thing than just buying a product is the first step toward understanding sustainable shopping.

"Once we have that knowledge, we can begin making better decisions that not only benefit the environment but also our bank accounts," Oceans added.