Even though the time to change our habits of consumerism has never been more important, it also seems to have never been so hard. How have we become so addicted to fast, throw-away fashion that is consequently lethal for our environment? We had a think about some possible reasons for this, helping us acknowledge areas we can improve our lifestyle choices.
Conglomerate companies and high street familiars hold the monopoly of marketing and the media: we see them first, and we think of them first. With budgets to burn on exposure and advertisement, we grow up bombarded with these easy options for lifestyle; leaving independents to grow via word of mouth and reputation without such a plethora of media coverage for us to hear their voices. It’s hard to know where to start finding stores and companies with transparent morals, sources and ethics.
It is not unknown that organic and more ethical lifestyle, clothing and food-based products are more expensive than fast fashion and mass production. However, as there has been lack of coverage of late concerning our damaging materialistic habits, the idea of ethical, organic products have found themselves with an exclusive, high-brow reputation. There are ethical brands who frequently match, if not beat, high street prices, whilst offering more durable and luxurious quality. Society seems to have evolved into a throw-away frame of mind - buying more disposable products for cheaper. Whether it’s food in extensive packaging, clothes that ware down quicker or products that lose their trend value, it is easy to spend more on a number of products than spending, what seems like more at the time, on a product that will last a number of years.
ACCESSIBILITY + TREND = SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Conglomerates and high streets stores not only have next day delivery from their websites, they also have the advantage of appearing on almost every high street. Technology and mass production has accustomed modern society to receiving what we want almost instantly, and with that has come impatience. The cost of delivery, packaging and newness has resulted in a global crisis of waste. When buying from independent and ethically inclined businesses, levels of transparency enable you to see their activity to reduce waste, use sustainable materials and processes of production and delivery and fair treatment of employees and support for other businesses.
Living a purely eco lifestyle is a highly demanding change to try and achieve straight away. Try to start with replacements for a few easily noticeable areas of wasteful lifestyle choices and supporting local businesses. Many ethical businesses do not have website yet, which makes looking locally so important. I’m working on reducing consumption and waste in these three areas:
- Food packaging: using reusable containers to store food instead of disposable bags, cling film and silver foil
- Clothing: going to vintage and second hand stores first is a great way to contribute to recycling as well as helping support charities. Even some high street stores have vintage options on their online stores, such as ASOS Marketplace
- Avoiding impulse disposables: in particular - take away coffee cups and prepackaged food such as chopped fruit and plastic water bottles. This has just required more planning ahead, preparation and buying a re-usable bottle, and has definitely made a massive difference to my waste output from within a year (as well as helping me save money)
Written by Amy Curtis