7 ways that I’m not an ethical shopper

Sometimes I feel like writing about my ethical journey online is a promise of perfection. Like every time I talk about how I’m trying to to be a better human, I’m signing a contract that says I will never use or do anything that causes any level of harm to the planet, animals or other people. Obviously that’s pretty much impossible and it’s only reasonable to expect yourself to try your best. So, I’m determined not to pretend to be perfect on my little corner of the internet. I’m not here to make people feel guilty for not having it all figured out yet. Especially not when I haven’t either!

I’m consuming more ethically than I did a year ago (or even three months ago!), but I’m certainly not the beacon of zero-waste, conscious living.

With that in mind, I decided to put all of my (recycled) cards on the table. Let’s put some radical honesty out there, in a time when the internet will jump on you the second they see you sipping through a single plastic straw. Here are 7 ways that I’m not all that ethical, to remind you that it’s okay to be on a journey.

1. I don’t buy all of my clothing second hand or from ethical brands 

As someone who has spent the last three years on a student budget, making the transition to having a more ethical wardrobe has mainly meant shopping second hand. Whilst I try to support slow fashion retailers where I can, the fact of the matter is that I don’t have the money to buy every item of clothing I need from ethical brands. But there are also some items that I just refuse to get second hand: Undies, gym clothes and swimming costumes to name a few. For those, I still head to the highstreet. 

2. I very occasionally use products that aren’t cruelty free

Going cruelty free with my cosmetics was one of the very first things I did on my ethical journey. It seemed like the easiest switch to make and, for the most part, that’s been true. 

Still, I have to admit that there are some products I use that are not cruelty free. The main one that I can think of is Piz Buin suncream, owned by Johnson and Johnson. My skin is extremely sensitive, especially in the heat, and I’m yet to find a sunscreen that doesn’t break me out in severe heat rash aside from that one.

And, frankly, I’m not willing to go the whole of summer in that absurd amounts of discomfort.

4. I use cosmetics that come in plastic 

Yes, of course I recycle, but I’m fully aware that it’s better to use no plastic to start with. Whilst there are people out there who have a completely zero-waste beauty routine, I just can’t bring myself to forfeit my huge tub of aloe vera gel or Ultrabland from Lush just yet. 

5. I’m not vegan 

My diet has certainly become a lot more “ethical” in 2018: I no longer eat meat (aside from a few slip ups at McDonald’s) and, for the most part, I don’t eat dairy. However, I’m not vegan so it would be wrong for me to claim to be a completely ethical consumer. 

I also still cook meat for my boyfriend and family. So, I’m not sure where the ethics police would stand with that.

6. I buy “ethical” products from “ethical brands” 

I’ve written a whole post about where to draw the line between wanting to support ethical products to show that there’s a demand/not wanting to support brands that harm the planet and animals. It’s a difficult one but, for the most part, I do buy ethically produced items that are created by not so ethical brands.

I feel like my voice as a consumer is in my money, so I want to speak up for products that do good in the world but it’s not a black and white issue. 

7. I always forget to say “no straw, please”

Almost without fail. I’ve use so many unnecessary plastic straws in my time, simply because I’m forgetful.


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