It’s undeniable that we live in a society that loves to shop. There are marketing schemes all around us constantly telling us we need the latest thing. I admit some days I can get caught up in wanting more. At the beginning of this year I decided to commit to buying less. Buying less helped me in my pursuit of minimalism and allowed me to stop engaging in mindless consumerism. Today I would like to highlight how buying less could help lower your carbon footprint and create more conscious consumption.
If we analyze the life-cycle of any given product I think we would be surprised at how much energy and resources were used in its production. First, the product needs to be manufactured—this is the most carbon intensive part. About 1 kilogram of fabric will produce around 23 kilograms of greenhouse gases. Next, the manufactured product is put onto a cargo ship. After a few more modes of transportation, all emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, the product finally reaches the customer. Now put these statistics in perspective. How often do you buy new clothes? How often are you buying new products? Think about all of the other things you might buy on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. We really need to stop to think about whether this stuff is a necessity.
Here are some ways that you might buy less:
- Borrow: Can you borrow the item from a family member or friend?
- Buy for quality or quantity
- Stay organized: Know what things you already have
- Use up the things you own first
- Learn how to fix/mend things
- Reuse or find a second purpose. E.g. cut old shirts and turn them into rags
- Go without—Do you really need that new mug/shirt/candle etc.?
- Go to an item bank: You can actually rent tools, kitchen appliances, toys, and more
- Shop at thrift stores
- Visit your local library instead of buying new books
I hope you will join me this year in an effort to all become more conscious consumers. Think before you buy.
What are some of the things you do in your own life to decrease the number of new items you buy?
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