Since I started this challenge, I’ve had a list of possible activities and habits that I’ve been adding to as I think of things and removing items as I adopt new habits and write about them. At the top of the list is the one habit that I knew I would have to do, but dreaded…maybe even more than not flushing the toilet to save water. Sustainable habit 21 – stop buying new consumer products. The reason I’ve been dreading it is that I’m not sure to what degree I’d like to take it – Do I stop buying new shoes? Can I still buy gifts for people? Do I just give up certain products? Do I refuse to buy anything new ever again?
This isn’t the only time I’ve faced the issue of how far is far enough? during this challenge. In fact, I’ve faced it pretty much anytime over the past few years that I’ve made my life more sustainable. There has to be a sensible sweet-spot between eco-warrior and hyper-consumer. The goal of this challenge has been to prove how easy it is to live in a more sustainable way by making eco-conscious decisions and by cutting back on the extras, the things that don’t add any real value to your life. Ideally, prove that it’s so easy and so rewarding that you’d be foolish not to join me in making your life more sustainable too…the challenge is making that argument without being a hypocrite for things like having a Keurig – I know they’re wasteful, but we got one as a gift and, quite frankly, it saved us when we had a newborn and company kept showing up and/or we hadn’t slept for days.
Which brings me to buying new consumer goods. I am going to be more deliberate about each of my purchases.
- Do I really need it?
- Can I get it used?
- Does it have to be new? (I’m not buying used underwear, for example)
- What is the most sustainable version I can get? (read: no more one cup coffee machines)
If I’m honest with myself, I’m pretty sure most of my purchases are going to be vetoed by simply asking if I really need it.