1. Consume with purpose.
This one is pretty simple: stop and pause before you head to the register or hit “check out”. Enticing Instagram Ads or too-good-to-be-true sales offers are making it easier than ever to consume without purpose. I’ve certainly been there, grabbing that final sale black tank just because the price was too good to pass up. In reality, all it got me was a few less bucks and another shirt just like the ones I already had, lost in my overstuffed closet.
Here are a few simple questions that I use to help me be more mindful of my purchases.
- Why am I buying this? Is it because it’s a good deal, or because I really need it? (Sometimes the need could be an emotional one; e.g. that it makes you feel really good. But, we should strive to really keep that that to some times.)
- How’s the quality? Is this something that will stand the test of time, or will I need to replace it in a matter of months? Choose quality over quantity. And, consider that while it may cost more now, you’ll buy less later.
- What’s it made of? In recent years, there has been much more attention on what’s in our foods and products (woo!), but we also need to think about what’s around our food and products. The quality and sustainability of what we consume is dependent upon the materials it’s made of. So, next time your out shopping, weigh your food packaging options, or check out the tag on that shirt, and consider whether you want to continue to support industries that aren’t the most friendly to our environment.
- Is this a fad? Most of us have a particular aesthetic that we come back to time and time again, beneath all those seasonal purchases we make to keep up with the crowds. Lean on that classic, timeless style when buying things like clothes and home goods so that you don’t find yourself replacing things more than you really need to.
2. Notice what you’re tossing.
Because of our waste management system, it’s easy to have the mindset of, “I’m not responsible for where my waste ends up.” If we reframe that and take on that responsibility, we most certainly wouldn’t be so heavy-handed with our trash cans. One of the easiest way to start minimizing waste is to observe what you’re throwing out most frequently; then, start there.
3. Know what you can recycle.
It’s definitely a pain that what can and cannot be recycled depends on where you are, but don’t worry, you can’t find out in less time than most of us spend on social media in a given instance. IWantToBeRecycled.org set up a snazzy site where you can search for your local recycling info based on your zip code.