As we discussed previously, there are many things that we can do as individuals to be more green. Everything from buying less stuff to the products that we do buy to activities that we participate in and so much more.
Let’s talk about the first concept of buying, or consuming, less stuff. I say “stuff” to keep it broad. In general, society consumes more now than we ever have before. We can blame it on social media and keeping up with the Jonses’, but the fact still remains that a lot of what we are buying is unnecessary. The more we buy, the more resources that are used to make those items, and then when they have reached the end of their useful life, we need to use more resources to break them down for recycling or send them to the landfill. So how do we buy less stuff?
We all know that we shouldn’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Our eyes are often larger than our stomach and we end up purchasing way more than we can consume. We could end up purchasing more processed foods, which often come in some kind of packaging that will either need to be recycled or sent to a landfill. Or we just over indulge in general, and up throwing out food because it goes bad before we can consume it. Plan ahead and make a list so that you know which specific items you need to make your meals for the week. And only go to the store after you eat a meal so you can prevent those hungry purchases.
And just like we shouldn’t go to the grocery store when we are hungry, we shouldn’t go shopping aimlessly. If we don’t have a goal, we are more likely to pick up things that we do not need or that do not serve a purpose in our already chaotic lives. Again, make a list and go shopping with that goal in mind, whether it is pants for work or specific school supplies. If you do see items when you are out that you like or want that aren’t on your list, take a picture or make a mental note and file it away for another time, or ask for it as a gift for a special occasion. This trick works great on kids, too.
When making large purchases or paying for labor or services be sure you do your research. Read reviews and determine if it is a necessary purchase. Beyond that, if you are replacing something that has reached it’s useful life, determine if there is some sort of recycling program. Perhaps the deliveryman can take the old product to recycle so as not to waste another trip. If it is something that still works, consider re-selling or donating the item to someone in need. When getting quotes for services rendered be sure to have options and ask several questions. You may pay more for work to be complete, but if it is someone that is knowledgeable and responsible they may be able to complete the job using better quality materials with less waste.
What all of these boil down to is not leaving your wallet vulnerable. Be prepared and responsible when shopping. When you accumulate less stuff, that’s less money spent for you, plus less time organizing, cleaning and wasting. And more time spent enjoying life.