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How To Become A Better Consumer

Mother Earth is getting too crowded – not just with people, but with single-use items like plastic bags and paper towels. How can we limit the consumption of things like this? Here are some tips on how to reduce waste without compromising your needs:

-Think about the long run. Whenever you buy something ask yourself this question: how many times am I going to use this? If the answer is one, think about an alternative. For instance, the use of toilet paper. Have you considered installing a bidet in your home? It’s not too expensive, and you can save the toilet paper for a guest who is visiting. In Europe, pretty much every single household has one and it’s a significant reduction of paper. If that’s too much of a hassle, think about altering your use of napkins. How about buying some washable cloth napkins? Paper towel rolls, disposable dishes, straws…the list goes on.

-Try to fix instead of buying brand new. A lot of manufacturers are making new products with an expiration date in mind – like smartphones. The moment you buy the latest model, the next one is around the corner and within two years your phone is obsolete. If it works well, don’t fall into the trap of buying the next new model. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice – like when DVD’s replaced cassettes, and when Netflix replaced DVD’s – but even then…look at how vinyl made a comeback! Don’t jump too fast into the next trend if it isn’t absolutely necessary.

-Become a smarter consumer. You can vote with your money, and by doing that, change our consumption patterns within the system. For instance, buy local, buy organic – don’t buy cheap, poorly made things. Buy high-quality clothes made from organic, recycled cotton that will last instead of ending up in landfill after a few weeks of wear. Buy from companies that are public about their values, have made commitments to sustainability, and are part of organizations that certify they are following through on their pledges. The impact will be significant.

What have you done recently to help the Earth? Let us know in the comments below…

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