By Jessica Blackwell
While well-intentioned, our eagerness to start doing better can sometimes lead to wasteful behaviors. And remember: waste is one of the natural enemies of sustainability!
Whether you’re a small business owner looking to make your business more sustainable or an individual trying to be more environmentally conscious, you can have a big positive impact by using what you already have.
One common mistake that people make when trying to improve their sustainability is to throw out or otherwise waste the products they already have.
For example, people may dispose of plastic single-use pens without using them, throw out plastic-packaged foods, or bag up all their fast-fashion clothes.
Many individuals and businesses feel this pressure to ditch their current, less sustainable products and run out and buy fancy new products that are marketed as more sustainable alternatives to what they already own.
They might feel like they have to go out and drop $100 on a fancy, top-of-the-line glass container set or feel pressured to go on a shopping spree at this season’s most popular eco-conscious fashion brand.
But before you throw away what you already own to “upgrade” it to something else, ask yourself: Is this really necessary? Do I really need this new item?
In spite of marketing tactics and social pressure that might tell us otherwise, the products we already own are often still perfectly capable of serving their intended purpose or can be useful in another way.
So, first and foremost, use up what you already have before making any low-waste or eco-conscious swaps.
And if you do decide to upgrade an item, just remember to do so as responsibly as possible.
For example, if the item is still usable, you can benefit others in your community by donating it to a local charity or other cause (such as our REmarket event).
If it’s entirely unusable, try to find a way to recycle the item, whether that’s through your city’s recycling program or a private operation, like Terracycle’s many programs.
The first step to creating a more sustainable world is REthinking what we do and how we do them, and learning to use and appreciate what you already have can be a great first step on this path.
*This post is based on content originally published at lumida.ca/blog.
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This is where you can find more in-depth information on how to reduce waste in our local communities and live more sustainably.
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