5 Ways to Consume More Sustainably
1. Sit down and write out your values
What does being more sustainable actually look like for you? Trying to solve every problem that the world is facing is going to have almost the opposite effect you think it will. We are limited beings with limited means, time and energy. You cannot save the world all at once. What you CAN do is direct the energy that you do have into what you’re passionate about. When you read about the effects of the climate crisis, or the millions of tonnes of textile waste each year, or single use plastics breaking up into our oceans and waterways, what really gets your gears grinding? What makes you so mad when you read it that you want to stand up and scream? What makes you passionate enough to fight for a positive change? Professionals and scientists around the world on the forefront of the climate crisis community say that this is the most effective way of making change. Find your niche, and fight your arse off for it.
2. Figure out what it is you want to invest in
Once you’ve figured out what you want to change, the next step is figuring out how you want to change. You have your passion, now find a way to most sustainably introduce it into your lifestyle. Find the areas in your life that are worth investing in. Say you are seriously concerned about the amount of single use plastic that you use: you snack a lot on the go or drink from plastic bottles of water, invest in beeswax wraps and a good quality water filter! To be sustainable is to create/use/make things that can be ‘sustained’ over a long period of time. What is it to be sustainable for you?
3. Look at what you already have
Before spending money, what can you use that you already have? If something in your home is to be sustained, it is also going to be used in every and any way possible before you even THINK about recycling or disposing of it.
4. Be a conscious and educated consumer
Research good brands. Gone are the days when ignorance is bliss. We all have computers and access to an online world so vast that we could spend our entire lives online and never find the end of the internet. Consider not only what the product is made from, but where it's sourced and how it’s meant to be managed at the end of its life. Knowing how a company functions internally is important too. Companies claiming to be eco-friendly or ethical often greenwash their products with pretty forest images, and other eco-buzz words, but pay below minimum wage to their workers and make no effort to provide genuine transparency in their process. You have as much responsibility in your shopping as business owners do in their manufacturing process. Ask the right questions. Do your research. Know what to look out for. With the rise of environmentally conscious brands, comes the surge in greenwashing.
5. Take responsibility
As soon as something is brought into your home, you are responsible for it. This ethos is something that I think many of us have detached from. The human race consumes endlessly and when we’re done consuming, we throw out what we’re done with, before it’s even been given a second chance as life. It’s cast into the unknown; the rubbish bin, and taken away, to be dealt with by someone else. Suddenly just because we can’t see it anymore, it feels like it’s no longer our responsibility. This is where we are broken. When you buy something, you are responsible for it. If you break it, you fix it. So much is disposed of and taken off our hands just because we decide it is no longer valuable. It’s a strange, mangled and complicated cycle, and it starts when you change the way you look at what you use and how.
To help, here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a purchase: How will you use it if it’s original function no longer serves? How will you mend it if it breaks? How will you dispose of it responsibly when it’s reached the end of its life?
As always, it's about the journey and not the destination. Go gently, tread lightly and always reach out if you need.