You’re most likely here because you’ve decided to transition into more conscious consumption practices. You’ve seen other articles telling you what you should change and what to get rid of, how to shop, what to look out for, what to avoid, and on and on and on. And if you’re a beginner, we know it can start to feel like it’s too big of a job. Having started our journey with conscious consumption just a few years ago, we remember what it’s like. So, to give you a hand, here are a few things that have worked for us and made our transition easier.
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It can be a bit overwhelming when you start thinking about becoming a conscious consumer, but this isn’t one of those things where it’s all or nothing. You can start slow by thinking about what made you decide to start this whole transition in the first place. Was it the number of plastic bottles you throw away? Or was it those plastic produce bags at the supermarket that were too flimsy to reuse? Start there! Get yourself a good quality reusable tumbler (make sure it looks nice too so you’re encouraged to take it with you) or grab some reusable produce bags and toss them in the car so you never forget them. Once you’ve done that, give yourself time to get used to this small change, then go on to the next thing. You don’t have to go big or go home on this one - it’s can be a slow and steady journey.
TAKE STOCK OF YOUR STUFF
Open up your makeup bag or your bathroom shelf. What’s in there that you could replace with something that’s kinder to the planet, animals, and other people? Make a list, but don’t toss the items out straight away! Just make a note to get a more sustainable replacement when your product runs out or the item has reached the end of its life. So use that plastic toothbrush, as well as the two more spares you have. Use up all the cotton pads you bought, and that moisturizer that isn’t cruelty-free. Just make a mental note of purchasing the kinder alternatives when replacement time comes. After that, move on to your kitchen, then your closet, etc. You get the idea.
CURB THE URGE TO BUY
One of the biggest and simplest things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of stuff you buy. When something breaks or gets damaged, consider repairing or repurposing it, if possible, before getting a replacement. Likewise, get into the habit of asking yourself whether that thing you’re planning to buy is a need vs a want. We are so conditioned to shop almost as recreation that it sometimes comes a little too easily. Pausing to think “need vs want” can help you declutter, save money, and make room for more quality sustainable purchases on top of reducing your carbon footprint.
BUY FROM SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESSES
If you must buy something, support small, local businesses whenever possible. Find out if any of the local small businesses sell reusable coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes, or handcrafted organic skincare and try them out. Instead of going to the grocery store to buy pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, why not take advantage of the weekend farmer’s market or trying out the local greengrocer? Is there a local business using fabrics and patterns made by indigenous communities? Why not buy from them the next time you need new clothes? This not only reduces your carbon footprint by not having anything shipped from overseas, but it also supports your local economy.
JOIN A COMMUNITY
Having people on the same journey you're on that you can learn and get tips from can keep you motivated and invested in making this lifestyle change. You can get product recommendations, tips on saving money, among other things, and these can be greatly beneficial. Ethical products and brands, in general, tend to cost more than regular supermarket or department store stuff so getting reviews, tips, or just some insight beforehand can help you make sure you're getting more bang for your buck and ultimately investing in products that will work best for you and your lifestyle.
DON'T BE HARD ON YOURSELF
Sometimes, we're not in a position to make an ethical purchase. You may need to buy a new pair of jeans but can't afford ethically made ones so you end up spending $15 on a pair of jeans from a store you know has had some labor issues in the past. Don't beat yourself up over it. There are other ways you can try to make a positive impact on the environment, it’s just not in this area right now. And that’s okay. The important thing is that you're on the right path.
CELEBRATE SMALL WINS
Have you finally gotten into the habit of bringing your own water bottle to work every day? Have you finally replaced your cotton pads with reusable ones? Have you finally bought some reusable produce bags for your weekly grocery shop? Celebrate! In the grand scheme of things, yes, they seem small, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a step in the right direction. Post a photo of your ethical OOTD on social media! Treat yourself to a nice coffee in your new reusable cup! Make a special dinner using the fresh produce you got from the farmer’s market! These are ways to keep you motivated and excited about making these positive changes. Keep going! You’re doing great!
We hope these tips help you navigate the beginning of your journey towards a more conscious lifestyle a little bit easier. Likewise, if there's anything you've found helpful in your journey so far, let us know! Share your tips with us, too. We all can learn from each other and make a positive impact together.