How to be a conscious consumer

Electric TravelsNov 26, '21

Firstly, lets answer the question - What is conscious consumerism?

Conscious consumerism is about being mindful about the kinds of products, brands and companies we chose to buy from.

Now, shopping sustainably can appear a laborious task, especially in a world where the narrative of current consumerist culture, places an emphasis on demanding 'more, more and more'.

Typically disguised in whimsical statements such as 'Retail therapy', to turn the act of shopping into a overwhelming want, rather than a need. To demand more and to demand it now. Thus curating a vicious cycle of over consumption, leading to an endless increase of waste, which is a ignominious misuse of time, energy and resources. 

However, hope is not lost - with the growing interest in conscious consumerism, we can begin to reduce our wasteful impact on the environment. Turning our attention to buying good quality products, that we are likely to need / use on a regular basis, over mass quantities of items that will inevitably end up in landfill. 

There are now over 500 landfill sites dotted around the UK. Filled to the brim with 350,000 tonnes (worth up to £140 million) of wearable clothes. To reiterate, that is an excessive wasteful amount of not only your hard earned money, but also a waste of resources, time and energy to create and dispose of said clothes.

How can we change? How can we minimise our contribution to the problem of over consumption? Especially when we still want and need to buy products for ourselves and others. 

The answer is conscious consumerism. 

Here are a few tips and tricks on how you can become a more conscious consumer

 

  • Buy less, buy better: Products are typically designed with a short life expectancy, this is to ensure that customers will return and replace. However, this doesn't have to be the case. By shopping for quality over quantity, you will actually save yourself money in the long run and surround yourself with more reliable products. To combat this issue, we recommend having a look at what you already have, then begin to write a list of items that you actually need.
  • Shop from ethical brands: Admittedly it can be difficult to find companies you to trust when many resort to green-washing, but if you can find transparent traceability then it is most likely a good , ethical company. It is important when shopping to pay more attention to companies who visibly display their sustainability practices and strategies. Another quick and easy tip for finding out if a company is ethical is to use the Free2work app.
  • Shop pre-loved: Shopping from charity shops is a great way to discover high value items for minimal costs and to support a cause that you believe in with your purchase. 
  • Re-use before you Recycle: Perhaps you could hand a product over to another person who may need it to get extra use out of the item or reuse the item for an alternative purpose before you recycle. 
  • Could you repair, rent or borrow? Upcycling items is a great way to restore life into old garments / products. Instead of purchasing a new product, think of ways to upgrade pieces you already own. Another great money saver is to borrow items, this is a good trial period for a product as well; should you find yourself unable to be without this item after using it temporarily then it may be worth investing in your own later down the line. Renting items has become increasingly popular with specific apps designed to facilitate this exchange for reasonable fees and returning items in their original condition to the owner. Perhaps you have an important event that requires a more glamorous or tailored outfit, this could be sourced through the affordable option of renting.
  • Think about a products lifespan: Thinking through the longevity of a product and the impact after it's disposal can alter your opinion on whether or not to purchase. Researching into how long it will last, and these methods of disposal is a good practice before finalising a purchase. 
  • Treat your products with TLC: Taking good care of your items will lengthen your products lifespan. Take note on how to look after the products you are buying and avoid over washing - only washing products when they are truly dirty. 
  • Don't buy impulsively: Think carefully about the products you are buying, instead of actively chucking random items into your basket. When you consider your purchase, you are less likely to throw it away. 

"Conscious consumerism is a valuable part of global sustainability and waste combating measures..."

The attribution of consumerist culture on citizens continues the cycle of over consumption. But you as the consumer have the power to choose to shop from companies who support and sustain ethical practices. We hope that you found these tips useful and take them forward on your journey to becoming a more conscious consumer.

 

Why buy from ET?

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Source:

1.) 10 Ways to Become a More Conscious Consumer - Minimalism Made Simple

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