The first thing you should be asking yourself is “how can I avoid being a consumer in the first place?”. Us humans are good at accumulating junk. We buy things that we don’t need, we get given more things that we don’t need and then get angry because our garage is so full of crap that we cant find the things that we do need! I agree, it’s exhausting, but how can we stop this vicious cycle?
I created this diagram to explain the steps everyone should be taking to source their stuff.
“Steps To Sourcing Your Stuff” explained
At the forefront of our minds, we should be considering whether the purchase we are intending to buy is necessary and whether we could use or UPCYCLE something we already own. This will ensure that nothing we own is being wasted and can avoid having to purchase anything new at all! If this isn’t an option, we take a step up to SHARE. Can I borrow, swap or trade with someone else? Most of the time you will know someone with an equal amount of junk in their house just waiting to be used. No?
Now it’s time to support THRIFT shops or buy second hand from people in your local area. The salvo’s, Facebook marketplace and gumtree are all your friends here; not to mention you will save your money! Still can’t find what you are looking for. How about making it a DIY project? Get your creative juices flowing and MAKE it yourself!
Now you have made it through all those steps and you’re still not satisfied, it is time to become a conscious consumer. This is the ‘BUY’ step to sourcing your stuff.
A Conscious Consumer
A conscious consumer is one that looks beyond the products and their labels and examines how the company behind the product is making an impact. This impact may be at an environmental level, economic level, or social level; however, to be fully conscious of one’s purchases, all the levels should be a consideration.
Questions that can be asked and researched to fully understand a company’s impact:
- Does this company align with my ethics and values?
- Does this company support recycling, minimise their waste and use green energy?
- What kind of packaging will this product come in?
- Is this company worth my support?
A conscious consumer has power. Power that they can use to support companies that have a minimal impact while boycotting those that do not. Every time a conscious consumer pulls out their wallet, they are making a choice to support a company that aligns with their values rather than those that are deceptive and do harm to animals, the planet and/or people.
This ‘buy’ step can overwhelming but remember that taking individual action will compel the entities that have the most power. Will we all be perfect? No. But can we all be conscious? Yes.