Posted on by Lidiia Sobolenko

How to buy less to save the Earth and yourself? 

How long can you live without Facebook? Perhaps, 3 hours or just 20 minutes? Why do we peep at our phones in the fear of missing the latest news? Why do we expect something extraordinary from every session, like a coup d'etat or a landing on Mars? Can something extraordinary take place every 20 minutes? Probably not. Without even realizing it we waste our precious time by consuming useless news. 

Obsessive fear of missing something new and interesting on social media (and in other channels) is called FoMO (Fear of missing). Apart from FoMO, this phenomenon can be categorized as consumerism. Consumerism is basically excessive purchasing and consumption of things. 

While informational consumerism harms a person who promotes it, other types of this phenomenon might be dangerous to the entire Earth. For instance, simple clothes can pollute the environment. Today we throw out 14 million tons of textile waste a year, 20 years ago this figure was half as much. In other words, we throw away millions of dollars every year. And that’s how a consumer society works.

Over the past 15 years, we began to get rid of old clothes and buy new ones twice as often. Studies have revealed that an average consumer utilizes a T-shirt after the fourth wear. There are several reasons behind this increased purchasing phenomenon - low quality of an item, annoyance, and the main reason is the availability of purchasing a new T-shirt.

Why does it happen?

Consumerism...A modern person can afford to buy a T-shirt every day due to its low cost in the mass market, which equals $7. Endorphins also encourage us to buy more. Indeed, buying new fashionable clothes makes us happier and even the thought of getting new things excites us. We adore the whole ritual of buying and: trying on new clothes, taking a walk immediately after purchase and boasting in front of our friends on social networks. 

Everyone is to blame

Private waste is currently estimated at 14 tons. Add here all the stock in mass-market stores that cannot be sold. H&M alone accumulates textile residues for 2 billion euros. Tons of clothes are being utilized every day leading to millions of dollars wasted. However, what can we do with all these things? Should we sell them for a penny? Or give them to homeless people? Should we burn them like a Burberry did and run into a scandal? Brands used to utilize clothing until textile waste grew into a global threat. 

How can we help the Earth and ourselves? 

Nowadays, brands choose a conscious way of utilizing clothing. In France, after the Burberry scandal, it was forbidden to burn textile waste at the state level, and Prada refused to use natural fur and recycle nylon. H&M, in its turn, promised to switch to clothing recycling by 2020, and another 80 clothing brands decided to take the same position. How can we solve global problems together? We can also help ourselves and the environment.

  1. First of all, the frequency and volume of purchases do matter. When you go to a shop, think about the reasons for purchasing new clothes. Do you buy things because you need them or do you want to feel happier, boost your happiness? If you stick to the second option,  then it is worth revising your sources of happiness. For example, you can buy things less frequently, but choose more expensive ones, and preferably made from organic materials. The feeling of helping the Earth may also make you happier. 
  1. Take a closer look at old clothes. Your old jacket might still be very good for you, and in this other dress, it is impossible for eyes to come off you. Try to give your old items a shot - not a favor, but with love.
  2. Exchange things. Exchange clothes with your friends, for example. Alternatively, look for a new owner for your old thing on social networks. You can also exchange clothes on their advertisement website. Give your old thing to a second-hand store, sell or give away for free.
  1. Recycling. You can also take your clothes to Ukrainian clothing manufacturers, which apply recycling technology in production. Perhaps, you will even be refunded or given a discount for the next purchase in the brand’s store. 
  1. Charity. Homelessness and consumerism are antonyms.