A year of shopping consciously

New year new habits, right?

I’m not really one for making New Years resolutions. They often set huge expectations that put immense pressure to fulfil, perhaps why a lot of them fail within days.

Another reason, no doubt, is the fact that January, as far as months go, is crap. The excitement of Christmas and New Years celebrations is over, no more bank holidays until May, back to work of which you arrive to and return from in the dark, finances are suffering from Christmas and an early pay day late December making January sooooooo long, it’s cold, it’s miserable, the summer seems so far away, and this year the impending threat of more lockdowns and losses looms.

For anyone planning on losing weight, exercising more, quitting alcohol, firstly good for you but also, can it wait? Push it back until mid March maybe? January seems like the wrong time to punish yourself. While I am still personally trying to shift some baby weight, I’ve decided not to focus on changing my physical self but a particular bad habit…

It is without doubt that I have a shopping problem. Thankfully, it hasn’t sent me into spiralling debt (yet) but it is without question that there is five somewhere and I believe that lies with the environment.

The affordable options tend to be the most mass produced and have travelled the farthest. A number of times I have been baffled at the amount of packaging that comes with ordering items from Amazon, a habit that has been escalated by the pandemic. On occasion I have tried to hold off on orders so that I order more items in one go with the intention of them coming in one package. I felt instant deflation as weeks of planning and editing my order resulted in multiple packages being sent, confirmed within moments of clicking ‘buy now’.

Another trigger point has been a couple of more recent items. The first, a Whistles dress, which in mine and a lot of peoples opinion is pretty expensive, costing around £160 full price. The design is certainly a step up from most high street stores, but the materials are just as synthetic and I was surprised to learn it was made in China upon searching for the washing instructions. This isn’t because China can’t produce high quality items, but it is certainly associated with mass production and low cost, the opposite of what I thought I was paying for. The other item was a stoneware mug bought from a snooty local shop costing in the region of £15. It looks like a handmade item from a local potter but again it was made in the Far East and travelled exceptional miles to be purchased. This was perhaps the more ironic as it is possible to get local handmade mugs for about £15 so why the need to have on made so far away where the majority of the profits will be absorbed by the wrong people.

This is why I have decided to set myself the challenge of shopping more consciously. What I mean by this is reducing the amount of stuff I buy in the first instance, and for anything I do buy I will make more effort to really research where that product was made and the materials used. I’m hoping it will reduce my impact on the environment with the added benefit of curbing my spending. It is a shame that environmentally conscious options aren’t the only option (see earlier post about ‘Eco tax’) but I’m trying to work with what’s available.

I’ve certainly started to make some headway to making better decisions. I use bamboo toothbrushes (FYI my dentist is still very happy with my gum health), use eco friendly washing up liquid and laundry detergent, recycled toilet paper, cloth nappies (though I still debate how much better hey are for the environment). As far as food shopping is concerned, I have some way to go, in a large part due to time and budget (see earlier post).

There is no doubt that I could be doing more, which I think is what makes it a good, achievable New Years challenge. It’s developing on something that has already begun and taking it to the next level. I like to also view this approach as doing something is better than doing nothing. So, if by the end of this year I’ve only made one distinct purchase that was more environmentally conscious that’s surely better than doing nothing at all, right?

I’m going to upload my progress here and on Instagram, but I’m interested in what your New Years challenge is?

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