Photo by: D’Arcy Norman
Local. Used. Eco-Friendly. Less
These are the four words I keep in the forefront of my mind when shopping. From clothing to food, if its not local, used and/or eco-friendly, I wont buy it. Here’s how I apply “less” to shopping:
First and foremost, I try to focus on buying and acquiring less. I’ve learned the hard way that having less is more economically and environmentally friendly, especially if an item is not built or manufactured for long-term use. Though its beneficial from a financial standpoint, for the purpose of this post, my focus is environmental.
Here are a few common items that we don’t need to buy, that only ends up in the landfills.
- Magazines - I canceled my magazine subscriptions a little over a year ago and I couldn’t be happier. The magazines I collected were full of ads, nauseating perfumed pages, and they took up precious space in my home. I flipped though the pages to cut out certain articles, photos and words for art projects and tossed the rest (with the exception of National Geographic and a few trade magazines). Though they were recycled, it was still a waste of paper. At the time, I was subscribing to mostly beauty and fashion magazines and I find well written articles, photos and information from fashion blogs and websites without wasting paper – and its free.
- Paper napkins - Investing in cloth napkins can go a long way in reducing waste. Since used napkins are not recyclable, they eventually end up in landfills. The same would apply to paper towels and disposable cleaning cloths.
- Technical and computer software books - I cant tell you how many antiquated software books I had to get rid of over the years. They are difficult to hand off to someone else and even many libraries don’t want them (who needs Windows ’95?). If its not available at the library, downloading an electronic version would be the next best thing. The same might apply to map and travel books too.
- Bottled Water – We all know about this one. Using non-plastic reusable bottles will go a long way in reducing plastic waste. I do have a case of water in my “earthquake kit” a few in the car for emergency purposes though.
- Processed food – Pre-packaged processed foods can often create a tremendous amount of waste and may of it isn’t recyclable. Buying produce, bulk grains, nuts seeds and oils, and meat and fish from the counter (instead of the styrofoam packages) will go a long way in reducing waste.
What other common items have you purchased that in hindsight really isn’t necessary but wasteful?
I’m sure we all can create a long list.