2020 was a bit of an odd year but was it the year that inspired you to try and reduce your eco footprint going in 2021? My aim is to help you take back control and change your mindset on how you shop. Expect to be challenged to think more, buy less and to “love people, not things”.
When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint there is a huge focus on plastics but reducing our footprint shouldn’t focus only on the materials we buy. We need to focus on the quantity we consume because we are a nation of over-consumers. Our society is constantly bombarded with adverts all telling us what we need to buy to be better versions of ourselves. The internet is targeting us more and more and don’t start me on those daily emails we get from companies we once bought an item from. To say it is hard not to be tempted to buy things is an understatement. Even during a global pandemic our governments are telling us to keep buying and spending more. There is big money spent to tempt us. Did you know the UK alone spends 21 BILLION pounds per year in advertising? The highest marketing spend in Europe and 4th highest spend globally.
The sad thing is, we buy these items thinking they will somehow make us happier but filling our life with stuff can actually make us feel burdened and unhappier. You can not buy happiness (money can help avoid unhappiness i.e. buying food so you are not hungry or a bed so you can sleep comfortably).
So how do we avoid over consuming in a world that is quite literally designed to turn us into consumers? I’d love to say “just buy less” but that isn’t really a helpful answer and I want to provide you with some coping mechanisms to help change the system we live in, so let’s start small. Each weekly email through January will have some actions or tips to help you become a more conscious consumer and you can always check through my Instagram feed for other ideas.
Action you can take:
- AVOID TEMPTATION – Unsubscribe from business mailing lists.
Trust me on this. You might be thinking “oh but I will miss a sale or a discount code”, you wont. WHEN you need to buy something you will find the currently active discount codes with a quick Google search. No rush on trying to find all your mailing lists in one go, just take a look through your inbox and when you spot a promotional email open it, scroll to the bottom and click unsubscribe. You will still be able to log in and use the accounts you have with these companies and get important emails but they wont send you marketing spam. The idea of deleting yourself from mailing lists is to free you from unessential temptation. I would extend this to your Facebook and Instagram if you follow a lot of brands there also.
- EDUCATE YOURSELF – Watch the documentary “Less is Now”.
This documentary is on Netflix from January 1st and I am supper excited to see it. It is the follow up to “Minimalism” where The Minimalists looked at how we can get value from our life without the constant need to buy more, more, more. The Minimalists also have a podcast so if you like the documentary, I highly recommend checking it out too. For more documentary ideas check out the “Top 10 Environmental documentaries you need to watch in 2021“.
- REHOME PREVIOUS OVERCONSUMPTION – Sort a donation out for the charity shop.
Ever notice how much clutter is around your house? All those things you felt you HAD to buy but tired of quickly or only used a few times? As you box your donations up I want you to think about why you bought the item, if it was worth it and would you buy it again? Could you have borrowed or rented something to do the same job?
Some people say you should pick an item a day to get into the habit of decluttering but I am an all at once kind of person so you do you and go for the method that works best for you. Remember if you have any ripped clothes, bedding or fabrics you can still donate these to the charity shop in a separate bag – clearly label the bag RAGS as the charity still makes money from these. I tend to bring most of my donations to Oxfam as they have a zero to landfill policy
If you have found this article useful be sure to sign up for the mailing list as I will be doing a series of emails on this topic.