I’m excited to share a guest post from Nora B.! Read on for tips for becoming a more responsible and conscious consumer.
As consumers, every buying decision we make has the power to change the world. From climate change to worker conditions, there are so many reasons why it’s important to be a conscious consumer. While it can sometimes be easy to ignore the impact of your consumption, it pays to do your research before making a purchase. Here are a few tips to help you become a more responsible and conscious consumer.
1. Do Your Research
Research is the easiest and best way to learn the ins and outs of just about any industry. Start by looking into where your food or coffee comes from. Then dig deeper into that specific industry and what they may be doing behind the scenes. You may discover that your favourite coffee beans were grown by farmers working in inhuman conditions in order to cut costs.
As you research different industries and start uncovering things like child labour, underpaid workers, and sweatshops, be sure to also research the solutions. One of the biggest things we can do as consumers to help is to educate ourselves on not just the problems, but the solutions. Fair trade sourced food, organic farming, microeconomic loan programs, and products that give back are just a few of the many solutions you may come across in your research.
2. Recycle and Upcycle
As consumers, we often don’t realize how much waste we actually create. Think about it, what would happen if you didn’t take out your trash? How quickly would everything pile up? Now, think about how much trash your neighbours may be creating. It’s no secret that we’re running out of space for landfills and solutions for trash build up. However, there are a few easy solutions to this including recycling and composting whatever you can and avoiding buying items with a lot of packaging.
Another way you can reduce waste is to donate or sell your unwanted clothing, rather than throwing it out. We all wear clothes every single day, but rarely do we think about what goes into manufacturing our clothing and the environmental impacts. For example, did you know that it takes 2,700 liters of water to make a single t-shirt? Or that it takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pair of jeans? Not to mention the fact that your unwanted clothes can sit in landfills for 200 plus years emitting greenhouse gases. Keep this in mind the next time you’re cleaning out your closet and consider donating or selling your unwanted clothes to secondhand clothing stores like thredUP. They make it easy to sell your used clothing. All you have to do is request a clean out bag, fill it with your unwanted clothes, and send it back.
3. Create a Monthly Shopping List
How often do you go to the grocery store or Target only to come back with a bunch of items that you don’t really need? You may even end up not using the items. We’ve all been guilty of doing this. While it can be difficult to cut out some of the key things from our daily consumption, we can easily cut down on the extra stuff like the items we don’t really need, but will buy anyways. The easiest way to cut down on these purchases is to create a shopping list each month for your essentials. Sticking to this list will not only help you eliminate the purchases of non-useful items, it will also save you a lot of money!
4. Buy Items to Last
Let’s face it, there are going to be items that you’re going to have to buy. If you do need to buy something new and it’s not ethically sourced, spend the extra money and time to research and buy the best quality item. That way you don’t have to continuously replace the same item that keeps breaking. While this may not seem like a big deal, not only will this cost you more money, it also puts money into sweatshops. Think of big purchases like your computer or furniture and spend the extra money on higher quality pieces that will last a longer period.
What tips do you have for being a responsible and conscious consumer?
(Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post.)