What is the Retail Industry?

The retail industry consists of selling goods or services to customers to earn a profit.

Major Retailers Examples:

Retail’s Environmental Impact

Since we live in a capitalist society, Americans are always on the search for more and constant growth. Because of our desire for more, the retail industry flourishes. When producing all of these goods, many retailers and large corporations harm the environment. This includes putting strains on natural resources, creating water and waste pollution, generating more greenhouse gasses through factories and transportation, and impacting climate change, to name a few.  Until the retail industry creates a closed-loop retail system, it will always have an impact on the environment. Environmental Impacts of Manufacturing

How Does Retail Affect Environmental Justice?

The retail industry plays a major role in environmental justice. To begin, many warehouses are located in overburdened communities. These warehouses usually create water pollution, air pollution, excess waste, and chemical run-off, which affects the health and well-being of the local communities. Often these warehouses are located near natural resources that they degrade for their production. This destroys the land of these same communities.

What are some solutions to the negative impacts of the retail industry?

Eco-friendly retailers can positively impact the environment through innovative and new ways of shopping. However, these methods are often difficult to instill. A few ways that people are beginning to become more retail-sustainable include:

  • Compostable and recycled packaging
  • Recycled material for production
  • Refillable packaging
  • Effectively recycling and reusing used products
  • Choose energy-efficient products in stores and warehouses
  • Minimize paper usage- using paperless receipts, etc.

A few major retailers that are sustainable include:

What Can You Do to Support the Environment?

  • Shop wisely. Only buy what you need and want to keep. Many things you buy end up in the landfill within the year. 
  • Shop at eco-friendly online stores when you do your online shopping.
  • Get rid of what you no longer use properly. Try to reuse, upcycle, donate or resell the items you no longer want.
  • Brands like Madewell allow you to donate your old jeans to be recycled. Share what you have. The library is a great example of this. Create borrowed systems in your community
  • Beware of Greenwashing
  • Get your dopamine high another way. Retail therapy brings dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter. Meditating, getting sunlight, exercising, and even laughing can all create that same dopamine effect. 
  • Bring your own reusable containers to fill them up with products. Stores like the Wasteless shop and Whole Foods allow this.

Move Forward to Path 2

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