resolving to consume less

Since having the sprogs I have become lazy in the execution of my personal goal to live sustainably, to live with consciousness and absolute responsibility. I’ve decided to reassess my consumption of “stuff” in general, and the two areas I’ve decided to really focus on right now are plastic and clothing because they’re the two areas I think I’ve been most lax in recent years.

Taking off the blinkers of convenience and really seeing the amount of unnecessary plastic that comes into my home, I feel quite ashamed. Then looking at the mountains of washing we’re able to generate before we start to run out of clean clothes to wear is embarrassing.

The clothes we own are largely poor quality, especially the sprogget’s clothes – cheap clothes designed to be worn a few times before they wear out. Clothes that have been cut and sewn with no concern for the direction of the fabric grain. Clothes that look old and shabby after just one wash. I used to op-shop with glee, but then it became all too hard to rummage through op-shops for clothes in the right size and style with first one, and then two children in tow. The convenience of rack after rack of the same item of clothing in various sizes, so reliably available, became too irresistable.

With some changes in the air for my family that enable us to do more than just (barely) make it through each day without dropping the bundle I once again feel able to take on a more conscious approach to treading lightly. I feel able to be more aware of the impact of my choices and actions on my environment, and on other people. Now is a great time to create some new habits and reclaim some old ones.

PLASTIC

Questions to ask at the point of purchase:

  • ┬áDo I need* this?
  • Can I source something that isn’t made from/with plastic to do the same thing?
  • Will this last a long time, or is it designed to be thrown away?
  • Is it made from/with recycled or virgin plastic?
  • How likely is it that this will be reused or recycled when I dispose of it?

 

Actions to take:

  • Take cloth bags to the shops every time.
  • Choose products with no (or at the very least, less) plastic packaging.
  • Give preference to non-plastic products eg. wooden, metal and cloth toys; metal and silicone food containers.
  • Choose recycled plastic products & packaging where plastic is unavoidable.
  • Recycle all plastic that comes into my home and into my hands.

 

CLOTHING

Questions to ask at the point of purchase:

  • Do we already have adequate (and seasonally appropriate) clothing in our cupboards?
  • Will this last?
  • Is it well made?
  • Can I make this?
  • Is it natural fibre?

 

Actions to take:

  • Make our family’s clothing myself, excepting socks because I can’t knit (yet!).
  • Buy from op-shops and local artisans only, avoid chain stores.
  • Buy natural fibre fabrics to eliminate reliance on oil for synthetic fabric production**.

 

So help me out here folks, what other questions can I ask, and actions can I take, to consume less and consume what I do with mindfulness?

Anyone else keen to reassess their consumption of stuff and set some personal goals too?

*Obviously I don’t need anything made from/with plastic like I need water, air, shelter and food, so in this instance I mean for “need” to be read as more than a want, more than a frivolous “because I like it” purchase. For example: buying food in plastic packaging.

**I already choose natural fibre fabrics for myself and the sprogs, I consciously chose to do this 7 years ago, but it’s something I think is important enough to note here in case someone else is taking inspiration from this post…

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have Comments (4)

phasing out plastic

Reading this post at Farmama has inspired me to give phasing out plastic another go. I’ve made half hearted attempts in the past to reduce our plastic use, but I always seem to relapse into making convenient choices that often involve plastic packaging. This time though, I’m shocked enough to try harder to succeed!

We won’t be throwing out the plastic we already own, but I’d like to stop buying plastic products and I’d like to stop buying products packaged in plastic

Obviously there’ll be times that buying plastic products is inescapable, the bulk organic dry goods we buy are packaged in plastic by our wholesaler for example*. The main aim is to be more mindful of plastic packaging and ask myself whether I could source the product elsewhere or make it myself.

We already have our milk delivered in reusable glass bottles, and the eggs we buy from the farmer’s market are cheaper if we return their carton to be reused. When we buy bread, it’s from the bakery who wrap the bread in tissue paper rather than putting it in plastic bags. But… and there’s so often a “but”, we could do better.

This is me, right here, making a pledge to do better. Making a pledge to rethink some of our purchases, to ask myself if I can buy it better, or make it better. I promise to phase out our plastic purchasing, hopefully (possibly too optimistically hopeful?) to nothing one day soon.

 

*Who knows, maybe we can ask them to package our orders differently? It’s certainly worth investigating.

posted by wildecrafted in home and have No Comments