Did you know that the average Aussie household has more than $5,000 of unwanted goods lying around? That’s a return flight to Greece. Or two Prada brushed leather shoulder bags (hello, sale!). It’s almost five times the amount of an e-bike, and it’s the entry level price for a purebred Cavoodle.
In short, it’s a whole lot of cash. And you spent it on stuff you don’t want or need. Bummer.
We’ve all bought something that we’ve never ripped the price tag off or even bothered to take out of the box. Shopping is a form of stress relief, after all, and most of us are guilty of using it to fill a void we can’t quite put our finger on at one point in our lives.
But that doesn’t mean you should just cave into every sale promo that lands in your inbox. Yes, it’s tempting, but do you really need another pair of black leggings to add to your already over-crowded activewear collection? Probably not. Plus, the packaging that’s part of every online order contributes tonnes of extra plastic waste to landfill (and that’s just been through the pandemic era alone).
Our planet is literally drowning in plastic, and our shopping habits aren’t helping. So, what’s a shopper to do? Two words: conscious consumption.
Sure, you’ve heard the term floating around, but have you actually put it into practice?
Conscious consumption will not only stop you from spending your hard-earned dollars on unnecessary, impulse items, but it will also save the planet – from curbing excess waste and pollution, to cutting back on production costs and ensuring the things you’re purchasing are made using sustainable materials. The benefits are on the up and up!
Yes and no. There are definite gains in buying less and investing in ‘long term’ items that will last you for years and years, like ditching your monthly spend on pads or tampons and buying a menstrual cup that you can reuse.
But stopping altogether isn’t the only answer. Buying second-hand is also a great way to shop more consciously. Plus, you get cool stuff for a whole lot less! Facebook Marketplace is a smart place to start, but you could also consider swapping items with friends or family and checking out the op shops in your local area.
Another easy way to be a more conscious consumer is to repair the stuff you already own. It’s something we often forget about, but you shouldn’t just think about the products you’re bringing into your home at the point of purchase. You need to think about their entire lifecycle, which means ensuring they don’t end up in landfill prematurely (or at all, if you can help it).
Still want to hit the shops? That’s fine – but here are a couple of things to keep in the front of your mind.
Buy local and handmade when you can
Unlike mass produced, commercial items you might find at your favourite mainstream stores, work done by hand uses a lot less energy, which means it’s way more sustainable to produce. The item is also more likely to be one-of-a-kind, so the chances of you and your sister-in-law owning the same piece is pretty slim.
More often than not, local handmade products are created in small studios (rather than large production lines or warehouses), and they don’t need to be shipped hundreds of thousands of kilometres to reach heir new owner (that’s you!). This is a big win because it means handmade goods have a much lower carbon footprint than commercial goods.
Oh! And when you support a local business, you’re also supporting your neighbourhood and community, which is a big plus in a post-lockdown world. Even if hand-made is not quite your style, please, please, please try to shop local and support small businesses when you can!
Quality over quantity
Yes, it can be tempting to buy seven new tops for a combined discount rather than just the one piece of clothing you actually need, but choosing the high-quality item will honestly save you cash in the long run.
Fast fashion is rarely well-made and usually doesn’t survive more than a few runs through your wash cycle. In fact, you’re more likely to pay extra for the cheap stuff because you’ll need to replace it again and again. No, thanks!
So, invest in a few timeless pieces that you genuinely love and look forward to wearing. They’ll age better and last way longer.
Our tip? A crisp white shirt, well-fitting jeans that suit your body type, and a killer trench coat will never go out of style.
Has this got you ready to kick off your conscious consumption journey? Check out our guide to sustainable summer sandals over here.
The luxury supercar brand and the high-performance athletic footwear brand have produced advanced runners in five colourways.
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