There is a lot of talk about how we consume these days. Even more so I would say as the world becomes more and more concerned with the climate and our environment. Obviously how we consume has a dramatic effect on our planet and it is spiralling out of control. We are brought up to just blindly consume and so people do it. While there is a very large place in all of this for companies to make changes to the way they operate to help with the situation, there is also a hell of a lot we as consumers can do to help too. There is also a bit of a belief that being an environmentally friendly consumer is only for people with plenty of money, but my tips below do not really cost anything more and in some cases even cost less.
I firmly believe that we need to start changing the way we think and consume to save our planet. We just need to change our mindset and once we really start thinking about what we are doing, huge changes can happen. So below I have given my tips which are all pretty easy to start with moving towards being a more environmentally friendly consumer.
Stop buying from big organisations
It is super easy to buy things on Amazon Prime to get something the next day or to buy cheap from Primark, but these large organisations care about only one thing, money! While they may do things which make them appear like they have values, such as L’Oreal releasing ‘vegan’ shampoo, the bottom line is still all about profit. L’Oreal still test on animals they are just calling the shampoo vegan to get more customers, they didn’t do it to stop using animal products! They will not change unless we vote with our feet. So simply, we just need to avoid using these large companies. I appreciate this can be hard, especially for people who are in rural areas, but maybe try and change one product at a time.
Buy from ethical shops
This maybe seems a cop out on a post about how to buy more ethically haha, but what I mean is buy from shops who reuse items or create from natural products. There are so many independent people out there making their own things which barely have an impact on our environment. A prime example is my good friend who makes Gnome Homes out of old trees. She resuses material which would potentially have gone to landfill, such as old Christmas trees, and creates beautiful toys. They are not only environmentally friendly, but last. Here link is here if you are interested :). But have a look on Etsy and there are thousands of others doing the same. And lets not even start on giving these people our money rather than huge corporations!
Buy things which will last
Buying from companies like Primark means buying cheap clothing which is made to last for only a few wears. The fact that the workers literally die to make these clothes so we can get them cheap is a whole other issue, but they also cause huge strain on the environment! While this may seem to contradict the whole it wont cost you more to be environmentally friendly tag line, in the long run, it really won’t. I appreciate some people simply do not have the means to buy from anywhere but Primark as they need something now and can’t wait to save, but for those of us who can, this will make a huge impact on the environment. Look into creating a capsule wardrobe with high quality clothes, that way it will last you for years. The less fashionale the items the better, keep them classic and timeless. If you are still thinking, I just cant afford this, go and look in charity shops. In fact, everyone go look in charity shops. I have had some really high quality items for a tiny price tag.
Wait 30 days before buying
Last year I didn’t buy anything. The lasting effect of that has been I still cant bring myself to buy things! So to be honest I would recommend everyone do a long term no spend. It really opens your eyes to what you actually like and need. But failing that I recommend if you see something you want, write it down and wait for a few weeks or 30 days. If you still want it, buy it. Chances are after this time you won’t though. It not only means you don’t buy things you don’t really need, it also stops you wasting money and your house will only be full of the things you love! And honestly having a home or wardrobe full of only the things you love really gives you a boost.
Focus on experiences not things
I guess this is maybe more a Christmas and Birthday thing, but rather than trying to buy for people, gift them experiences. It could be you buy actually buy one of these gift experiences online, or simply spending some time with people. Gift them a day in your company doing something they love. This goes down especially well with kids and grandparents I find. Children love to play games etc but how often do we say we will devote that time to them tomorrow or the next day. Gift them a whole day of playing their favourite games, even throw in a new one if it all feels a bit too cheap, but trust me they will love it! Likewise, treat your grandparents to an afternoon tea all cooked by you or a day out to an art gallery. Whatever they are into, just spend time together doing rather than buying things.
Buy local and in season
When I was little food came in seasons. We didn’t get strawberries until summer, we ate root vegetables in winter and we ate spring greens in spring. Yes it was clearly a lot more restrictive but the benefits are huge. When you buy in season chances are you are also buying local, so less airmiles. It will also be far tastier as it hits your plate far quicker than the frozen options coming from the other side of the world. Also when you buy local, especially from a farm, you can all but eliminate the plastic. You may be reading this thinking, but farms or farmers markets are so much more expensive than a cheap supermarket, but give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised. I find it far cheaper, one because it actually just is cheaper for me than my local supermarkets but also as the fruit and veg lasts so much longer I do not waste anything and do not need to buy more to replace what ends up in the compost bin.
Even better if you can try to grow your own. I am not the best at growing things but I try and every year we get something as a great crop. For first timers I recommend tatties, strawberries, raspberries, lettuce and peas. They all grow like weeds! They just need sun and water, and can even be grown in pots or indoors if space is an issue.
Don’t waste what you have
This may seem an odd suggestion, but as consumers we are just so wasteful. How much of your food ends up in the food bin, or even worse in landfill. How many of us don’t properly look after our things. Since I have decluttered my house and so I have less stuff, I find it far easier to use what I have. Least of all just because I can see everything! My wardrobe has far less in it so I actually wear everything. The added bonus of that, I know what I own, so if I do find myself shopping, I know what will go with what I already have. As a person I never really used to care about my belongings. I don’t attach sentimental value to much and I move far too quickly to make roots anywhere. It has always given me a very laid back attitude to my things which really has just meant I don’t take care of them. This has totally changed since I have started considering my impact on the world. I look after everything now and who would have thought it, but it means things actually last longer! I know, shocking!
Don’t think someone else will do it
I considered not including this as it seems a bit too pushy, but I genuinely believe it. Far too many people have the attitude that someone else will solve the worlds problems. They wont. Sitting back doing nothing, or making no changes will never change anything. Don’t wait for the change, be the change! Cheesy, but true!