Caregiving While Shopping Sustainably
No matter where you live, the health and future of our planet is likely on your mind. Our interconnectedness with the well-being of Earth has never been clearer, and many of us have started taking steps to minimize our impact on the environment and live more sustainably.
If you’re caregiving for someone who needs a little extra support as they’re in the process of healing, it can be a balancing act to figure out how to keep them comfortable while also being mindful of the planet. And since this balancing act is very close to the heart of Arkeras, we’ve compiled some of our favorite resources in order to share them with you.
Don’t overlook the things you already have.
Whether you’re offering support to someone who’s living with a challenging diagnosis, or transitioning a loved one into a long-term care facility, it’s easy to think that this means it’s time to go shopping. And while there can be something special about a few new items purchased just for this moment, there is an incredible amount of comfort in the familiar things—a well-loved robe, a tried-and-true lotion, a favorite pillowcase. Anything that feels like home can bring a deep sense of peace at a time when so much is unknown. Before you go out in search of new things, consider that you may already have most of what you need. And at a moment when your energy and resources are already stretched thin, this realization might come as a welcome relief.
Consider borrowing from your community.
Every new item we purchase has an environmental impact, requiring resources for raw materials, manufacturing, and transport. We’re used to turning to online shopping or brick-and-mortar stores whenever we need something, but there are more tools than ever to help us find the things we need within our neighborhoods and communities. Before you go out and buy a new blanket, a bedside lamp, a side table, or even a set of toiletries, check first to see if someone you know might already have exactly what you need. Consider connecting with your neighbors on sites like Nextdoor, emailing your book group or church community, or posting on a Facebook “Buy Nothing” group in your town or city. Not only is this an incredible way to “shop” sustainably, it’s also a way to get to know the people on your street and in your community. And perhaps even more importantly, there’s a gift of connection built into these exchanges, which means that everyone benefits—no matter whether they’re giving or receiving.
Purchase fewer, but better things.
When it’s necessary to opt for buying something new, there are so many ways to make sure your choice is good for you, your loved one, and the planet.
When purchasing toiletries, consider lip balms, soaps, lotions, shampoos, and conditioners that are made with natural ingredients like beeswax, and almond, jojoba, or coconut oil. Not only are these formulas environmentally friendly, they’re free from parabens, petroleum byproducts, and other ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. Furthermore, we love the way they can become part of a meaningful daily or weekly care ritual, with soothing textures and gentle scents can be grounding and calming.
When purchasing clothing, consider seeking out companies that specialize in sustainably made garments that are responsibly sourced and dyed, and sewn by workers earning a living wage. Often these companies are based domestically. Look for durable, natural fibers like wool, cotton, linen, and silk—even though they’re more expensive initially, they wear significantly better than their synthetic counterparts, and offer higher quality, comfort, and breathability—huge benefits when someone is bedridden or recovering from surgery.
When it comes to household items, consumers have a wider-than-ever range of choices when buying something new. If you’re trying to make the most sustainable choice, things to consider include where a product was made and what it’s made from. For example, a locally made product tends to be a better choice than something that’s been shipped from overseas. An item made from renewable resources like bamboo or natural rubber is a better choice than something made from plastic. And an object that’s compostable or recyclable is a better choice than something that will eventually need to be thrown away.
Lastly, when it comes to buying new things, we like to consider quality. It’s always tempting to opt for the least-expensive option, but spending more money on a well-made object often means it will wear longer, need fewer repairs, and become a reliable part of our lives and our stories. A well-made item reminds us that there’s beauty in anything that intends to be lasting.
Here at Arkeras, we take environmental impact seriously. We recognize that the choice to purchase one of our gowns is the choice to buy something new, which is why we’ve put so much care into making each garment as low-impact and sustainable as possible. Our garments are hand-sewn in the United States by skilled workers who receive fair wages and good benefits. The fabrics we use are woven or knit from a mix of organic and Oeko-Tex® certified materials, which means they are chemical-free for the benefit of both people and the environment. The high quality of each Arkeras garment means that it’s made for long-term use—made to be worn, laundered, and used for a long time. We believe making sustainable choices isn’t just the right way, it’s the only way forward.
From all of us at Arkeras, thank you for considering the planet as you choose how to clothe yourself.We believe that every single sustainable choice helps.