|Photo by Guus Bagermans.
I don't know about you, but I just hate consumerism. Yet, since humans have to consume some things (like food), and our society is set up to drive us to consume as much as possible of everything else, I can't seem to help but be a part of the system.
If we're going to be a part of it, however, we can do it as ethically as possible! Who's with me?!!??!!!
Step one, of course, is resisting the urge and pressure to consume wherever possible by fixing old things instead of buying new ones or just not getting a new thing.
Step two is to try to do all the rest of our consuming in a way that doesn't kill both people and planet. Enter this Fast Company article on 8 simple, inexpensive ways to be a more ethical consumer in 2019.
They identify some of the main culprits in our lives (plastic soap bottles, paper towels, fast fashion, 2-day shipping, meat) and some easy, viable alternatives.
One thing they don't say, that I would like to point out, is that it feels really good to go out and do something like buying a bunch of glass pump bottles to replace all the plastic bottles in your home, however (HOWEVER!), your eco-footprint will not shrink unless you then also take the time and effort to go to your local package-free soap dispensary or buy bulk-sized pouches to refill these bottles when they empty. Every time!
Glass and other reusable alternatives actually take more energy and resources to produce than disposables, so they need to be reused quite a bit before they become more eco-friendly. (You'll get different estimates all over the place on how many times a glass, cloth, ceramic, or metal item needs to be used to be officially "better" than a disposable one, but it seems to range from 6 to hundreds depending on the item in question.)
This isn't to discourage you from doing it, of course, but to encourage you to be realistic about it. If you just pour a regular bottle of dish soap into your fancy glass pump bottle, all you've done is make your kitchen look nicer. A worthy endeavour, but not the one we are talking about right now.
Same goes if you decide, a year later, that you'd rather get a different style of glass pumps and throw out your old ones in favour of new.
So let's do these things, and let's think longer term about how we do them to make sure they are actually effective.
Goooooooo TEAM! YEAH!
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