Resolve to be a Better Consumer

Consumption is a big challenge for us as humans–we need, we want lots of things…The vast majority of products end up in landfills, and over 60 % of fabric fibers are synthetics derived from fossils fuels so they don’t decay.” Designer  Christian Siriano

SO, How can we become better consumers?  We have incredible power with our consumer dollars.  How can we use that power wisely? Why would you reinforce corporate greed with your purchases? Everyone wants to save money, but you are not saving money when you purchase lots of cheap things that will end up in the land fill next year!  

Lots of environmental repair is needed, and I hope you will join me to help in 2021 and resolve to be a better consumer. Look at your habits and just make one change. See reading list below.

One of the most important forms of power we have is our ability to decide where and how we spend our money. When you pump LESS gas, and purchase less meat you’re saying something. When you contact businesses about their extreme plastic packaging, you’re doing something. When you shop local, support local farms and climate-smart brands, you’re making a difference by revealing a growing market for whom business as usual will not cut it. At our house we only make purchases at places that pay a minimum wage. If we can use our dollars to shop for quality, support local, green, and homegrown businesses. We can keep dollars in our own communities and make a statement. Buying less makes a statement too.

The thought of having plastic microfibers in the food I consume stirs me to reduce my plastic consumption and motivates me to become aware of my plastic and other unsustainable purchases.

glass
Reuse containers
Where can you start? First work to stop purchasing single-use plastic. Shop with your reusable bags, use a reusable water bottle, refuse straws/plastic utensils, and find an alternative to baggies. Maybe stop using sauce packets. Become aware of all the  packaging that can’t be recycled.

Start working on one thing and go from there. You will not be perfect, but you can make a difference! Maybe you can start with an alternative to dryer sheets and hand wipes. I just discovered somethings I purchased during the pandemic are in #7 plastic(not recyclable). I’m contacting these companies, and ending my #7 plastic purchases! Education and awareness make such a difference. I hope the reading list below will heighten your awareness also!

Reading list:

Say no to fast fashion and purchase items that will last a long time

Toxic chemicals in single-use plastics are harming human health | U.S. PIRG   

Do You Want to Buy Less Stuff? Three People Tell Us How – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/buy-less-stuff

Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism – Going Zero Waste

Six Eco-Friendly Pledges for 2021​ – EcoWatch 

New Year’s Resolutions for the Planet – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

9 New Years’ Climate Resolutions To Keep For 2021, According To Experts (forbes.com)

In Focus: We know the real cost of fast fashion, so why do we buy it? | Metro News

Lake Michigan plastic pollution poses ecological and social threats (https_dailynorthwestern.com)  

Substitutes For Dryer Sheets | Cleancult

My ten tips for Health4earth holiday shopping: 

 

Purchase clothing made from natural fibers – synthetic fibers like polyester are made from plastic. Opt for alternatives to dryer sheets for your laundry.

Consumer Power

glitter on poinsettia
Never purchase items with glitter. Glitter doesn’t break down and can exist for a thousand years in the ocean or soil. It is harmful to animals and wildlife.

A consumer is powerful. The choices we make, and what we purchase  changes marketing and products, and as consumers we can make a big difference by the choices we make.  The choices we make can make a positive change on the environment creating a more sustainable world.

The Arctic is melting, and much of the earth is experiencing record hot temperatures, our children are demanding change. What choice do we have?
As a wise consumer you can help to reduce your harmful impact on our earth by increasing your shopping awareness and taking your consumer power seriously. If everyone does a little it can add up to a lot!
Being sustainable consumers are priorities for our household. These are our suggestions for ways to use your consumer power:

  • Heighten your awareness of packaging and waste, choosing products with minimal or no wasteful plastic packaging.
  • Always shop with reusable bags.
  • Never purchase products with glitter or Styrofoam. They can’t be recycled.
  • Shop reuse stores. Some of my favorite clothes and items come from consignment stores.
  • Shop bulk items.

    Shop in bulk
    Buying in bulk is a good way to manage food waste, and plastic waste. Bring your own bags or containers.
  • Shop retailers that pay living wages, and are local over big box stores.
  •  Buy nothing and reuse what you have!
  •  Purchase items that will last instead of cheap junk.
  •  Avoid all single-use plastic
  •  Make your own choices, don’t be owned by corporations like Apple, Target, Amazon etc.

 

Save 100%

Climate march in New York City
Fridays for our Future

How can we be sustainable consumers? We have another die warning from the UN on the climate crisis we are experiencing. Buying more stuff does not help the earth. If you need to purchase items,  do it in a more sustainable manner. See below.

We don’t need to purchase to be happy.  I went to see the new Fred Rogers movie. The messages are subtle, but say a lot. Rogers was a master at helping children to feel important. and to feel good about themselves. He thought television was an excellent educational tool, but had been ruined because it tried to turn children into consumers demanding things they didn’t need. As we enter the holiday season and a time of extreme consumerism read more about Fred and his philosophy here

Consumerism and saving money is on our minds. Unfortunately, we have become a throwaway society. Do you use an item for a short time then throw it away, and even worse we raise our children to get bored quickly from that item they just had to have. Again, we don’t need to purchase to be happy. This holiday, how can we be more sustainable and honor the season at the same time?

  •  Join or create your own Friday climate march #FridayforFuture
  •  Always shop with a reusable bag and avoid all plastic.
  •  Shop reuse stores. Some of my favorite clothes come from consignment stores.
  •  Give gifts of help, time and outside events.
  •  Shop retailers that pay living wages, and are local over big box stores.
  •  Buy nothing and save 100%. Reuse what you have!
  •  Purchase items that will last instead of cheap junk.
  •  Plan a day outside instead of shopping, REI.

Happy Holidays! Pause, Enjoy, Reuse

 

Does Black Friday promote “resource waste and overconsumption?”  Read at France.

 

A Man Wears His Trash

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid.

Bring you own bag
Bring you own bag

Enjoy this video, as an individual makes a statement on our consumerism. Each American(USA) consumes 4 1/2 pounds of trash a day.  As I shop at grocery stores and Menards, I am overwhelmed by the amount of packaging and waste that goes into our purchases.

What can you do to reduce that 4 1/2 pounds a day?   I have just returned from a bus zero waste food coop shopping trip, filling my own bottles, and using only packaging that can be composted(paper not plastic).  I work everyday to be a climatarian. You don’t need to be as extreme as I am, just become aware! How can we consume less?

Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags
Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags

Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!
Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!

 

Backyard Compost Collection
Backyard Compost Collection

 

Our Purchases Fuel Climate Change

“A new study published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that the stuff we

Do we need all the things we buy?
Do we need all the things we buy?

consume—from food to knick-knacks—is responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material, and water use” From Audubon and Grist.org

This post is a follow-up to two of my earlier posts.  Every time we make purchases we need to weigh what the impact is to the earth.  Purchasing high quality items that will last, fixing broken things, bundling our errands, and becoming climatarians are a few easy things to start with.

https://www.audubon.org/news/the-surprising-way-stuff-we-buy-fuels-climate-change

I like one of the comments from the above link:

“Some of us have become “anti-consumers”. Think 3 times before you purchase. Is it necessary? Can I get it second hand? Can I make it myself or just do without?
#VoluntarySimplicity may be our only hope.”

More to read:

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/13/470314387/this-jacket-will-last-30-years-guaranteed

https://health4earth.com/2015/12/28/climatarian-a-new-resolution/

https://health4earth.com/2016/03/06/e-commerce-comes-at-a-price/

http://grist.org/