We live in a consumer driven world we believe we need a lot of stuff that we really don't. The more we consume, the more the planet's natural resources suffer. It's a cycle that needs to be broken and the change needs to start with ourselves. I've provided some insights into how you can make better choices in order to be an ethical and environmentally conscious consumer. It's not rocket science! Just a few tips to change the way you already do things so you'll feel better about your impact on the planet.
Limit takeaway containers and plastic bottles
Takeaway containers, drink bottles, and coffee cups aren’t good for anyone. Putting these cups in the recycling bin also isn’t the answer - recycling is becoming a dead end that only works in some countries. Did you hear that china is no longer importing any recycled plastic!? We’re in a bit of a pickle producing a whole bunch of plastic that nobody wants. There just isn’t a demand for recycled plastic anymore. If you’re a coffee addict and get your daily fix from the local barista then I’m sure you already have a reusable takeaway mug like a Keep-Cup but if not then what are you waiting for?
Buy local where possible
Support local businesses. For example, getting your fruit and veggies fresh from a farmers market is a good way to make sure you’re eating produce that’s in season, not to mention it’s a nice feeling to support local growers and the economy. Farmers markets usually have lots of stalls that sell hand made goodies and bits and bobs; gourmet cheese, honey, juices, arts and crafts and fresh bread that isn’t made in bulk.
Reuse before you recycle where you can. Keep old glass jars to store food or juice in or use them as drinking glasses. Glass can last for thousands of years so there’s no reason to recycle a jar straight away if you can use it again for something else.
Take an Interest in where your products come from
Take a bit of time to research where your clothes, shoes, food and other items come from. A lot of clothing brands and chain stores manufacture overseas and underpay their employees. It’s a really sad reality and many continue to turn a blind eye but you don’t have to! Remember that every dollar your spent you’re basically casting a vote towards what you are willing and not willing to accept from the market. Human rights violations are hidden in fashion, food, coffee, your smart phone, and so much more. Just do your research. It’s helpful to know that there’s lots of clothing and food brands that are certified fair trade or are open about where and how the construction process takes place. For instance, Salt Label swimwear is constructed ethically here in New Zealand.
Wash your clothes less
This might be a gross concept, but if you use the washing machine less, you’ll be decreasing your environmental waste by an incredible amount.There are thousands of microfibres in synthetic fabrics which leak out of your clothes when you wash them. These fibres are so minuscule they tend to slip through filtration processes and into the ocean and waterways. So only wash it if something’s actually dirty. If you wore it once and it doesn’t smell then consider putting it back in your closet. The old sniff test should do the trick. Washing bags exist that can actually catch synthetic fibres but they’re quite hard to come by. Check out these ones if you’re interested.
Want Versus Need
Marketing works to make people's wants become their needs so think really hard before you purchase something. Do I really need this? When I'm done with it what will happen to it? Are the materials compostable? Being an ethical and environmentally conscious consumer means reducing your waste and only buying what you actually need.