What Does it Mean to Be a Responsible Consumer?
Photo by Tim Douglas
Choosing to be a responsible consumer can sound like an intimidating role! But in reality, being a responsible consumer is much simpler than it seems. With just a few mindful switches, you too can support environmental sustainability and consider yourself a conscious consumer.
Being a responsible consumer essentially means that you are intentionally aware of the things you purchase. From day-to-day groceries to clothing brands it’s important to understand where things come from and where they’ll end up. Directing our financial support towards ethical brands can make a lasting impact!
Responsible consumerism considers not only environmental impacts but social and economic ones too. Not only should we be focusing on supporting a lasting climate, but we should also promote humane production standards and living wages for workers who make the products we buy. By being more consumption conscious we can make a huge difference in our carbon footprint!
Now that we understand the importance of conscious consumerism here are some practical ways you can choose to be a more responsible consumer.
Use a reusable water bottle/mug
This is a simple switch that can save a ton of unnecessary waste. Ask your local coffee shop to make your drink in your favorite reusable mug to lower their cup waste– plus it’ll stay warm longer! Bringing a water bottle everywhere also helps you stay hydrated. I like to keep one in my car and at my desk so that there’s no need to buy a single-use bottle!
Ask yourself: is it a need or want?
Shopping is an often mindless activity where we find ourselves buying things we don’t need just because we think it’s cute in the store! To be a more mindful consumer it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself: is this a need or a want? “Wants” aren’t bad! But it’s important to know that those items will still be put to good use. For more on this check out How to Create a Minimalist Wardrobe.
Ditch the packaging, buy the content!
One of the leaders of unnecessary single-use waste is the packaging. Why do we have to buy all the plastic and cardboard when all we need are the contents inside? A simple way to counteract this is to shop at zero-waste stores. These refill shops allow you to bring your own containers to buy only as much as you need of dry goods, soaps, and more. This lessens product and packaging waste– so it’s a win-win!
Shop local (food & beyond)
The most mindful way to shop is to shop local! From farmer's markets to thrift stores and boutiques, supporting local businesses is the most sustainable way to shop. Food that is locally sourced is usually more organic and local clothing stores positively support their employees. Ultimately keeping our money local helps boost our home economies to promote lasting sustainability!
Becoming a responsible consumer doesn’t require a total lifestyle change! Simply implementing these small changes can leave a big impact on the world around us. What other ways do you like to be a conscious consumer?