Ever heard the phrase “think before you buy”? Do you actually “think before you buy?” If not, you definitely need to keep reading. That piece of advice is way more valuable than you think.
Every item that you purchase affects our planet. Resources (energy, water, raw materials etc.) are used to produce or manufacture the items. Carbon emissions are produced by the transportation used to transport the items. Also, landfill waste is increased due to items being discarded.
Before I embarked on a trip to the other side of the world (from Jacksonville, FL to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), I had to complete the dreadful task of packing up my apartment. There were a lot of clothes, shoes, purses, accessories, books, cute martini glasses, beauty products, etc., that I rarely used. When I purchased the items, I didn’t ask myself whether I really needed them, nor did I think about the environmental costs. I was more focused on what I wanted. If I had followed that piece of advice, I could have lessened my impact on our natural resources, and my bank account.
I’ve now realized that small, individual actions can make a BIG difference, especially when it comes to the environment. There are many little things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment. So, here are 7 tips to help you get what you need without having a negative impact on the environment and your bank account:
1. Think before you buy.
Ask yourself if you really need an item before purchasing it. Weigh the pros and cons of buying that item. Yea, that dress or shirt may fit you well, but do you really need it? You could always use that money on experiences (i.e. traveling, activities), which I find to be way more valuable and less disposable than material things.
Even if that shirt you’ve had your eyes on is made from organic materials and consists of natural dyes, the most eco-friendly option would be not to buy it at all, unless you really need it. Learn how to reduce your consumption by only purchasing things that you really need. If it is something you really need, consider the following tips before you actually purchase something.
2. Reuse items that you already have.
Try to reuse things you already have to make something you may need or want. For example, you can reuse wine corks to make floor mats, coasters, and many other things. You can reuse glass jars from your sauces to store items. You can reuse plastic bottles to make trash cans, curtains, and many other things. You can even reuse your old denim jeans to make bags and organizers. You can also clean with old t-shirts instead of buying something to clean with. Just think and be creative. Your creativity could save the Earth and save you a lot of money!
3. Make your own products using items you already have.
If it’s beauty and cleaning products that you need, consider making your own non-toxic products before buying some. Make your own cleaning products using common household items like baking soda, lemons, white vinegar, and soap. Make your own beauty products using oils (like olive oil and coconut oil) and other items. You can find a ton of formulas online. Different things work for different people so you may have to try several things before you find your perfect combination.
4. Borrow and share before you buy.
Borrow from, and share with, family, friends, neighbors or whoever, especially if it’s something that will only be used once or occasionally. Books, movies, tools, bikes, cars…borrow and share anything that you can. I know many US cities have bike-sharing and car-sharing programs, so check with your local officials to get more information on those.