Sustainability is an important value to have in today’s society.
Our consumerist culture has bred the idea of “more, more, more” and created a world where many feel it’s important to buy as much as possible as quickly as possible, creating a world of perpetual waste of resources and unfortunate misuse of time and energy.
Conscious consumerism is a rising trend among people who want to fight back against spending culture and promote eco-conscious ideas and mindful spending.
With conscious consumerism, we can begin to cut back on wasteful consumption and spending and focus on buying and using only the things we need and use on a regular basis.
What is a conscious consumer?
A conscious consumer is someone who thinks carefully about their purchases and sustainability every time they purchase something.
From clothing to home items, conscious consumers think carefully about every single item they purchase before they buy it.
They evaluate things like the likelihood of them using the product, the quality of the product, the potential lifespan of the product, the sustainable ingredients used to make the product, and how they can responsibly dispose of the item once it’s reached the end of its lifespan.
Conscious consumers also promote the idea of conscious consumerism in their regular life.
They may be promoters of cultures like minimalism or simple living, but they can also simply be eco-conscious people who want to encourage others to begin transitioning to less impactful consumerism patterns.
Conscious consumers help you remember that every choice you make matters and encourage you to question every role or purchase you create in consumerism culture in order to promote a more sustainable world.
10 Ways to Become a More Conscious Consumer
1. Buy Only What You Need
The biggest and most important value of conscious consumerism is to only buy what you need.
Simply by consuming less, you can make a tangible impact on the world and reduce the pounds of waste and garbage in the landfill on a daily basis.
Look at what you already have in your home before you head out to shop and stick to only buying the absolute essentials.
2. Avoid Anything in Excess Packaging
Another major way to support conscious consumerism is to be very intentional about the packaging in the types of items you buy.
Whenever possible, purchase products or items that have little or no packaging or environmentally friendly packaging (made from recyclable or compostable materials if possible).
For anything that comes in packaging that you simply can’t avoid, make sure you know the best ways to appropriately dispose of your items so you don’t have to throw out anything.
3. Think About a Product’s Full Life Span
Another easy way to promote conscious consumerism is to consider the full lifespan of a product when you’re going to buy it.
Reflect on the history and the projected life span of a particular item: when it was made, how long it will last, and what the appropriate method of disposal will be after it’s done.
4. Try to Upcycle
Upcycling or recycling is a great way to be more conscious in your daily choices and consumption without buying new every single time.
Whenever you realize you need something new, first think if it’s possible to create or upgrade that item from something you already own.
If that’s not true, then look to buy something from a second-hand store or from a place that uses upcycled materials diverted from landfills.
This saves water, air, and energy in order to create new and sustainable products.
5. Quality, Not Quantity
“Quality over quantity” is a famous phrase that applies clearly to sustainability and eco-conscious consumerism.
Whenever you can, try to buy quality items that will last a long time versus cheaper items that last for a shorter amount of time and require more.
Stick to versatile, high-quality items that can be worn again and again.
Avoid fast fashion wherever possible and stick to re-wearing quality garments to help keep sustainability at the forefront of your consumer pattern.
6. Extend Your Own Product Lifespan
Try to keep the life of your clothing as long as possible by taking especially good care of your items and reduce your overall environmental impact easily.
Wash your clothes only when they’re truly dirty, wash them in cold water, hang dry them to avoid the strain of mechanical dryers, and repair them by hand until they’re truly beyond repair.
7. Look for Good Companies
Stick to companies who have visible and viable sustainability strategies and are proud to support them.
Any company that both reduces waste and fair labor products is a good idea, as well as considering the impact of their purchases on the overall environment.
8. Read Up on Your Purchases
Researching your purchases can help you reduce the impact of rash decisions and think carefully about what you’re buying and when.
The more you think about a product the more responsible your purchasing will be.
9. Think about the Impact of Your Purchases
Every time you buy sustainably you’re sending a message to the other people in your life that you believe in sustainability and eco-friendly purchases.
You have the power to choose to promote ethically made products, and by doing so you’re making a positive impact.
10. Don’t Buy Impulsively
Absolutely don’t buy something on a whim. Instead, try to think carefully about each purchase to make sure it’s truly something you want or need.
The Importance of Conscious Consumerism
Conscious consumerism is vital in a world where we continue to create more waste than ever before.
It’s estimated that the United States alone generates up to a billion pounds of solid waste per day, with 146 million tons of waste per year going directly into the landfill.
Conscious consumerism takes a direct stance in combating that consumerism and waste, fighting back against wasteful spending, wasteful consumption, and working to keep more products out of the landfill.
Conscious consumerism promotes sustainable values such as recycling, long-term use, and responsible upcycling.
Conscious consumerism is a valuable part of global sustainability and waste combating measures that tries to prevent the accumulation of more wasteful people and spenders.
By spreading the principles of conscious consumerism, we can begin targeting excess landfill waste and consumerism and instead create a culture wherein we buy what we need when we need it and have all our needs and even some wants provided for with sustainable living and purchases.