As a species, we need to reduce the amount we waste and consume to ensure a sustainable future for all of us. Below are some ways we can rethink how we consume goods to build towards a more sustainable future.
1. DON’T SHOP
I recently went through and organized my space at home and came across 4 pairs of scissors, 8 staplers, more rolls of scotch tape than I can count, and 2 label makers, 2 (identical) paper cutters, and the list goes on and on. How did I end up with so many redundancies? When I couldn’t find the thing I needed, I just went out and bought another one. I know better now, below are habits that have helped me consume less and that I hope you will also find helpful.
- Get Organized: I know, believe me, this is easier said than done and is a constant struggle for me. That being said, when everything has a home and I consistently put things back in their “home” (a consistent place) then when I need something, I know where to go to find it quickly and easily. I can avoid a trip to the store which saves me $$ and saves the planet the resources it took to make the thing I need and the gas to get me to the item or the item to my home.
- Share: Power tools are fun, or at least I happen to think so. But if I have a one time project and I don’t have the tool I need, I’m sure there is someone in my universe that can lend it to me. Putting an ask out to friends on social media has been a go to that has served me well and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by who has offered help or offered to loan me items. If it’s not something I can borrow from a friend, can I rent it instead? Offering to share and asking to borrow from friends and neighbors not only, again saves $$, saves the planet, and brings our communities closer together.
- Get Creative: I know sometimes I think “gah! If I only had ‘xyz’ this would be so much easier” and it is a very specific item that of course no one in my network has and can’t be rented anywhere, so my next impulse is just to go buy the thing. In lieu of buying the thing, I ask myself “Is there another way I can resolve this without buying something?” Often, when I’m honest with myself, the answer is yes.
Perfect example, COVID hits, I’m working from home and I want a standing desk. I could have bought an inexpensive one online, I even know the make and model of what I would have purchased. Instead I went to my attic, found an old square coffee table that when placed on top of my desk makes a perfect standing desk, and even happens to match.
What do you have laying around that may have multipurpose use that perhaps you hadn’t thought of before? If you’re gifting and looking for ideas, see our gift guide for some ideas before running to the store for gifts.
2. BUY USED, REPAIRED, REFURBISHED
More and more companies are selling refurbished items at a discount with the same warranty as buying new. You can save yourself some money and the planet and still get the same great products and service. Before purchasing new, scour their site (apple for example sells refurbished products). Patagonia sells both used and new garments made from scrapes of used garments. Also, get to know your local second hand shops, you’d be amazed what you can find.
3. SUPPORT RESPONSIBLE BUSINESSES
If you absolutely have to buy something new, know the impact of your purchase. Think about the impact of your purchase on the planet, your community, and the workers of the business. Shop locally when you can and look for B Corps. The reason we are such big supporters of B Corporations is that it is a 3rd party certification that is the most rigorous and challenging to pass and companies are judged on all those impact areas. And for certified B Corporations, they have to re-certify every two years! So when you see that B Corp logo, you know that company prioritizes using business as a force for good. Use the B Corp directory to find one of the over 3,000+ B Corps around the world. Support black owned, women owned, and other businesses owned and run by people of different under-represented identities so we can all build towards a more equitable future.
By Benn Marine, March 11, 2021