Cost is often at the forefront of a consumer’s mind. Getting the best deal is important, especially in recent times. However, as investigative journalism and scientific studies uncover how consumer habits affect not only people but also the environment, being a conscious consumer has become more important.
Buying items that we need (as opposed to want) is key to being a socially conscious consumer and saving money. Often times, we buy items simply because they are on sale or because we think we could potentially use them when in reality, many go to waste.
According to “The Ugly Truth about Food Waste in America,” Americans waste 33 million tons of food a year; much of which could be curbed by simply buying less. Going to the grocery store more often could help avoid over-buying and save money, all while preventing waste.
Recycling is an often overlooked but vital part of reducing our impact on the environment. Most cities provide recycling bins that are picked up by collectors weekly. Separating waste appropriately takes time and effort, but can make a big difference. In a landfill, plastic bags can take between 100-800 years to decompose, aluminum cans 200-500 years, and glass bottles an indefinite amount of time to naturally decompose, according to the Main State Planning Office. Interestingly, these common items are the most damaging to the environment, yet easy to recycle. By ensuring these items are properly recycled, you can limit the life of a landfill by hundreds of years!
Use your time to better the community. Consider cleaning an area in your neighborhood, collecting and sorting recyclables, planting a community garden, or assisting at a food bank or clothing drive. The City of Phoenix website is great resource for volunteer opportunities. Most city websites have information on community events. See if you can sign up for an email list so you never miss a good opportunity to help!
We are all consumers and through our individual efforts, we can make a difference to better our community and the environment.
Do you think that by purchasing more eco-friendly goods we can influence producers to consider these factors when manufacturing goods?