5 Ways to Shop like a Conscious Consumer to Reduce Your Waste
Disclosure: The post is sponsored in paid partnership with Sol Organics.
We’ve become very accustomed to living in a consumer driven society. Although we’ve always been consumers, we’re now consuming higher quantities of goods at a much lower quality than in the good ol’ days. Our cheaper stuff breaks quicker, and instead of repairing our things, we’re replacing them with the latest, newest, shiniest options.
Often times, it’s cheaper and easier to replace rather than repair our stuff anyway (typically a result of planned obsolescence, or products designed for the dump). This post is intended to help us steer the ship in a better direction, one where we’re more conscious about our shopping choices and less stuff ends up in the landfill.
What also happens when we buy cheaper things? People are paid less to make that stuff, and there is less concern (if any) for the environmental impacts of extraction and production.
As a result, people and the planet (including flora and fauna) are impacted in negative ways.
In addition to the societal and environmental implications of a hyper-consumer society, our wallets are suffering. We’re spending too much money and racking up credit card debt that we can’t pay off.
When we choose to be conscious consumers instead of making quick and cheap purchases, we will save money in the long run. We’ll shop less because our stuff doesn’t break as quickly. If you’re used to shopping for fun as a hobby, find new hobbies to fill your time. Especially hobbies that cost less (like going for a hike or learning to paint). Mindless shopping only results in buyer’s remorse and unnecessary spending.
Are you ready for change?
Ask yourself a few probing questions: Does buying new stuff really make you happy? Is it truly necessary for a fulfilled life? Have you considered what void you might be filling with your shopping habits?
These questions can be quite insightful and may help you to pinpoint your problem areas so you can move in a new direction. When you’re ready to shift your habits, here are 5 tools to help you become a conscious consumer.
5 Tips to Help You Become a Conscious Consumer:
1. Make a Wish List:
If you typically buy something immediately without much thought, it’s time to take a new approach. Consider exactly what you need or want to add to your life before making any quick purchases. Always sleep on it first. Better yet, make a wish list of all the things you’d like to buy, and if you still want the items on your wish list a few weeks later, there’s a good chance you really want to make the purchase. Keep a wish list on your phone, in your notebook, or even on Pinterest. Chances are, the new shirt you thought you wanted at the store will be soon forgotten instead. Keeping a wish list will help you identify things you really want to add to your life.
2. Review and Research Your Options:
This might be a tough one if you’re a quick off-the-rack or quick click-of-a-button shopper. While we may be willing to put more effort into big ticket purchases (like a car), we can also take time to research good brands for all other purchases too. Want a conscious, curated closet? Review brands that align with your values, that create quality products, that offer options to repair, or make products that are repairable, and that are open to conversations about all of the above. Transparency is key, especially when it comes to quality, people and planet.
3. Choose Quality:
Check out the reviews for any product you’re planning to buy. What are people saying? Do they love it? What’s their experience with the item or the brand? Did it break quickly, or is it long-lasting? Is there a good warranty? Can it be easily repaired? Where could you get such an item repaired if you needed to? Quality items may cost more upfront, but you’ll be less likely to replace it in the near future, saving you time and money. Plus, you’ll send less stuff to the landfill, too.
4. Consider People:
When you’re ready to purchase a product from your wish list, find out if the brand you’re buying from has ethical labour practices. Are people paid fairly? Are their working conditions meeting regulatory standards? Do they have opportunities for growth? Sometimes cheap stuff comes at the cost of the people who made it. Our purchases are an opportunity to support brands that are providing better labour standards and transparent supply chains.
5. Consider the Planet:
Is the brand you’re buying from supporting sustainable production practices? In other words, what are the environmental impacts of the products that they make and that you’re buying? What is the ecological footprint of that product? What resources were required to produce this product? Were they sustainably sourced? Is production sustainable? Or is it polluting nearby rivers or even residential areas? Again, our purchases are the perfect opportunity to support brands reducing their impact, or even leaving the planet better than we found it.
Once your potential purchase meet your criteria, you know you’re making a good purchase. While it might not be realistic to expect everyone to take this much into consideration for EVERY SINGLE PURCHASE, it’s still helpful to keep all of the above in mind.
Sol Organics Meets the Criteria!
A great example of a product that would fit within this model and pass the test is Sol Organics. Sol Organics creates affordable, ethical and sustainable bedding, duvets, and more. Their products are organic, fair trade and come in plastic-free packaging. Better yet? They donate $7.50 from each sale to 4 partner charities.
Sol Organics sheets, along with the responsibly-sourced Canadian down pillows and duvets, are non-toxic; free from pesticides, phthalates, formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals. Sol Organics is completely transparent about their cotton, fair trade, workers’ rights and pricing. Talk about sustainable and ethical, exactly what we want out of a good night’s rest!
Let’s talk about cotton. Before Sol Organics found a supplier, they contacted hundreds of factories with an extensive list of non-negotiable requirements. As a result, their organic cotton is certified by FLO, GOTS, Oeko Tex and Fair Trade. They finally found one factory in India that checked all the boxes for a fully transparent supply chain from farm to factory to fabric to market. Their cotton is non-GMO, certified raw 100% organic cotton in a FLO-certified factory.
Bedding and products from Sol Organics means that customers get to enjoy the comfort that comes with affordable luxury bedding without compromising sustainability. Sol Organics maintains their commitment to better farming practices that reduce their carbon footprint, conserve and protects drinking water in the surrounding communities, and keeping all of us safe from harmful chemicals.
If new bedding is on your wish list, Sol Organics meets the requirements of quality, with considerations for people and planet. You can even check their 5-star online reviews!
Make the right investment for the long-term and choose quality over quantity. This is such an important component of low waste living and will help reduce the amount of stuff we sent to landfills.
Go ahead and make sleeping well a priority. These sheets are super inviting and are just as soft and smooth as they look!
Follow Sol Organics on Facebook and Instagram and check out their website.
Side note: for those keen to learn more about our consumer habits and how we can change them, check out these books:
The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
A Life Less Throwaway by Tara Button
Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
For more tips on going zero waste, read the book and head to zero waste 101!