CONSUME | sustainable consumer 101
would you like to live more sustainably but don't know how to start? don't worry - i've made a short list of the most important, pretty easy to do ways to begin your eco-friendly journey!
minimize the waste
thank god, quite many people have learnt to recycle their plastic / paper / glass / metal / what have you waste, but that is not enough. what's even more important than that is drastically reducing how much each of us throws away - and that applies to packaging, food waste, throwing away old souvenirs and unnecessary impulse purchases etc. when it comes to shopping, just start looking for alternatives that are not excessively wrapped in unwanted layers of material polluting our world; or at least opt for paper wrapping instead of plastic. be smart when making purchases and with each item, think through whether you really need / want it - it will save both the environment and your wallet.
reduce, reduce, reduce
this might seem like repeating the first rule, and it actually is, to a large extent. but it also means reducing how much water, heat, energy etc. you use. (which is something i still need to work on!!) reduce your footprint by making smart choices!
invest in quality
simply put - quality pays off. while you might pay a lot in the beginning, after a while, the item will actually prove to be much more economic than buying several cheap things over the same time period. high quality = long lasting = extended usage time = economic value. simple maths, yet so many people will try to argue with you that they 'don't have the money to buy the expensive stuff'. of course, not everyone does, but, let's face it, quite many of us, western privileged white folks, do. so, instead of going to, for example, a cheap retail chain and grabbing multiple fashion fads that will bore you in a few months (weeks even!), save up and invest in timeless, high quality pieces that will stay with you for a while. again, you're not only saving the planet - your bank account will be glad too!
don't be a blind consumer who buys whatever the advertising world urges them to try. be interested in where your products come from, who made them, what is in them, what the story of the whole company is. we simply cannot be possession-seeking ignorants anymore - it is time to open our eyes and ask questions about the products we buy, and create a demand for fair and sustainable treatment of the produce.
reuse, recycle and upcycle
this goes hand in hand with the reduce the waste rule. instead of getting rid of things you don't need anymore, try to think of new ways the items can serve you, and if you can't come up with any, the Internet is full of DIY tutorials and videos! almost anything can have a new purpose, so think twice before you throw something away!
buy 2nd hand
this does not only apply to clothes, but pretty much anything. furniture, appliances, equipment,... go to thrift stores, flea markets, join Facebook groups, swap with friends - the options are endless!
share, inspire, educate
while it is great that you as an individual are trying to do something nicer for the planet, it is probably not enough. try to speak up about your effort and influence people to do so too!
and remember - it is a continuous process!
it is not easy to be sustainable in our society, but don't give up and keep trying!