Week 10 – 7 things you do not need to buy
There has been an explosion of self storage units over the last few years which says to me that, as a nation, we are buying far more stuff than we did a few years ago to the point that we have to store it elsewhere as our houses can't cope with it. Come on – stop and think. How much stuff to you realistically need? Separate want from need and you'll probably find it a lot less than what you actually have now or might buy in the foreseeable future. We might now live in a buying culture - yet this culture of buy buy buy is harming our environment? They take energy to produce, all to often quickly end up in landfill or are simply illegal. Here are 7 products you really should do not need if you believe in helping the planet become a better place:
1. Overly Packaged Goods
Everything from individually wrapped swedes (Why?) and peeled oranges in plastic pots (WHY again??) to all sorts of goods in cardboard and plastic galore, much of this packaging is unnecessary and all too often it ends up in landfill as it cannot be recycled. As for those pre-peeled oranges I feel another whole, somewhat ranty, blog post coming on … So come on, let's ditch the unnecessary packaging. Go for products you can buy without all that gumpf around them and let companies know you don't need it. If we all started removing the packaging from what we have just bought, leaving it in the shop for them to deal with, retailers would soon start pushing manufacturers to reduce levels of packaging.
2. Illegally produced animal products
From ivory to coral and fur/animals skins to tortoise shells there are thousands of illegally produced items available and the only reason this happens is because, for as long as there is a market for them, unscrupulous people will get them by whatever means to feed that market. Only elephants need ivory, no-one else. It is not clever or fashionable to have things made from dead animals and as a status symbol, the only thing it says to me about the status of that person it is hovering around “Dumb Ass” (thank you Big Bang Theory for that description).
3. Disposable Products
I wrote more about products we use once and then throw away on the very first Weekly Green Tips - Disposables to Go. We really do not need these items and there are always more environmentally friendly alternatives. We just need get out of the mindset that their convenience is more important to us than the damage they do to the planet. It's time to Ditch the Disposables.
4. Things you don't actually need
People love shopping. But do you REALLY need yet another brand of shampoo, more clothes or another jar of curry paste to fester in the back of your cupboards? Yes, go shopping but stop and think before you part with your hard earned cash. Do you absolutely need whatever it is or is just a short term kick that truthfully does nothing for you in the long run and risks harming the environment through its manufacture, transport, packaging (see above) and possible rather quick onward journey to landfill?
5. Out of Season Fruit and Veg
Strawberries in winter? They will either have either been grown in a heated greenhouse or flown across the world which either way make those strawberries rather unattractive from an environmental point of view. Oh – and I bet you they'll also be pretty tasteless. So curb the urge to buy out-of season produce and enjoy eating high quality, in season and local fruit and veg – your taste buds, if nothing else, will thank you (and so will planet Earth).
6. Bottled Water
Turn on the tap and out pours fresh, clean water. It's is as cheap as anything and absolutely safe to drink. Why on earth do you need bottled water? You might say that the bottles can be recycled and whilst this is true a huge number don't get recycled and even when they do the energy needed to do this probably negates any advantage of doing so. Vast numbers end up as litter and the remainder are overfilling landfill sites. Quite simply, we survived all the way up until now without bottled water and unless you are in certain countries, tap water is totally safe to drink.
7. Yet another piece of new technology
So you've got the latest phone, tablet, camera or whatever and you are mightily pleased with your purchase. It' sleek design feels good to touch and you love its new features. But then something happens ... the next model comes out a few months later. It does a few extra wizzy things and it's design is a little different. Suddenly your model seems old hat and you lust after the new one. You must have it. You absolutely need it. STOP. You don't. 5 minutes ago your new “toy” was the best thing since sliced bread and anything that new model does is not going to make your life massively better. All your friends are getting it? In that case be unique and stay happy with what you have until you need to replace it because it is broken, fell down the loo or got eaten by the dog …. and PLEASE do not feed your dog your old phone as it is not good for them. They'd much prefer a dog chew anyway.