Now, I rethink all my purchases. No more quick impulse buys. Unless we're talking about a vegan donut. I'm not made of steel! But in general, my purchasing behavior is different. It’s so easy to fall into the consumer culture trap, throwing money at quick buys while shopping. Nowadays, these are the types of thoughts that go through my head when I’m considering a purchase:
Is it used? If it's new, is it necessary to buy it new (underwear!)?Do I need it?Is it reusable?Is it package free?Can I make a replacement that’s cheaper / more sustainable?Is it made well? Is it high quality and not likely to easily fall apart and become trash? Does the company stand behind its quality by offering a guarantee?What does its end of life look like? Is it compostable?
When I started to think about what I really need, I realized I didn’t need 30 sweaters. They take up too much room in my closet, some are made of synthetic fibers which are rough on the environment, some are cheaply made and fall apart too quickly (Google “fast fashion”), and I simply don’t have the cognitive load to remember which ones I have. Most weeks, I naturally fell into the same cycle of a few clothing items anyway. I didn’t need to mindlessly shop at T.J. Maxx for “good deals” when I have a perfectly good closet full of clothes at home. I made the decision to only buy used clothing, with the exception of underwear and bras (buying those used has an ew factor). Now, when I have an urge for a new shirt, I shop at local thrift / vintage shops and search for natural fibers like cotton, linen, and hemp. I donate my unwanted clothing to local shops too. For super busted clothing with pit stains and holes that can’t be repaired, there are programs that recycle textiles - check this out for tips.
Depending on where you live, your income, your time, your abilities, and what stores you have in your area, some aspects of this lifestyle may be difficult for you to incorporate. Differently abled bodies may need assistance shopping in bulk and may not have the ability to simply opt-out of using a straw if they forget to bring their reusable straw or cannot use rigid reusable straws. Also, I completely understand that some people don't have a lovely service in their area that hand delivers bulk castile soap in a reusable glass jar. That's such a luxury. Hopefully with time, it'll be more of the norm, but for now we can do what we can.
Feel free to pick and choose which parts you'd like to change in your own life. In several ways, this lifestyle saves money and promotes healthful living. In some ways, it can be more of a challenge depending on your circumstances. For instance, some things require an upfront cost and are cheaper long-term. Some may not have the financial means to make this upfront commitment for the long term gain. Do what you can; every act helps!