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Conscious consumerism: What should I ask before purchasing?

As we are living in an increasingly affluent world, the demand for goods increases. Therefore, the need to produce these goods increases as well. Consumerism is destroying our environment, leading to more pollutant emissions, waste, and accelerated climate changes.

To encourage becoming environmentally aware of the impacts of mass consumerism, how can we be more socially conscious of our purchases? Here are some questions you can research and ask before purchasing products to minimise the harmful effects on our environment! Through these questions, let’s all strive to encourage conscious consumerism and create an eco-friendly environment for the future.

Where is the product shipped from?

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Knowing what materials go into producing your product is an essential question to consider as a conscious consumer. Materials that are natural and biodegradable can impact less harm to the environment after they are disposed of and degrade quickly. Biodegradable materials include bamboo, cotton, hemp, or high-quality and durable materials such as glass and stainless steel. 

Avoid fast fashion! When it comes to clothing, look for environmentally-friendly options such as organic cotton and sheep wool (did you know that it is necessary to shear sheep to maintain their health as they are unable to shed?). Additionally, ask yourself if this product can be reused or repurposed in the future instead of throwing it away.

Does the company support a cause?

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There are many incredible brands and companies that support different types of environmentally-friendly causes. If there is a cause that speaks to your heart, whether it is saving the animals or cutting down on waste, chances are you might be able to find a company that donates a portion of their product profits to such organisations. Why not get something you love, and support a meaningful cause at the same time? Keep a lookout for conscious consumerism brands that support these environmental causes!

How often will I use the product?

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Do you really need this product? Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the routine of consumerism, mostly during flash discount seasons and holidays. Before you hit checkout on a product, have a think about how often you will use it and if it is really necessary. If the answer is no, save your money! Cutting down on unnecessary items and investing in high-quality and long-lasting needs is a step towards being an eco-friendly minimalist. You can read more about how being a minimalist can benefit the earth here!

Can I buy this second-hand?

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As a conscious consumer, buying second-hand items is always the best option when it comes to buying for ourselves. Open up your mind to buying more items like furniture and clothing second-hand. Support local second-hand events such as thrift stores and flea markets, as well as online websites such as Carousell that also encourages people to resell their pre-loved items instead of throwing them away. This reduces waste while saving your money too! You can find more ways to cut down on waste in your everyday lifestyle here.

What kind of packaging is used?

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Companies that use plastic packaging materials are worsening the non-biodegradable plastic wastage issue we have today. This is often the case when buying online products or fast food. Try shopping for brands that use compostable, biodegradable or reusable packaging! We highly recommend rejecting packaging wraps and bringing your own shopping bags and containers instead. Recently, more places in Singapore are charging extra for the use of plastic bags, and these few cents will eventually accumulate into a few extra dollars that you could be spending on something else instead. 

Who made this product?

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Though this question sounds straightforward and simple enough, it holds a lot of power. Knowing which brand and company made your products is a step towards discovering their close connections with their factories and supply chains. There shouldn’t be anything hidden away from the community, especially within the fashion industry! Unfortunately, sweatshops and harsh animal testing is still a big part of many products today. Support brands who work towards ethical and vegan production as much as you can!

Being part of the conscious consumerism movement is an excellent start for anybody who’s looking to engage the community. This brings more awareness about the negative impacts of consumerism without taking away the fun of shopping. It is a step by step process into making the world a better and more sustainable place for everyone! Sure enough, by using these questions a guide before making any purchase, you’ll become more conscious about reducing your waste products and preserving the environment.

The Virtual Green Christmas Market

This Christmas, we’re on a mission to reduce our waste and carbon footprint. Join us at The Virtual Green Christmas Market from 27 – 29 Nov 2020 to discover eco-friendly gift ideas for your loved ones! Shop sustainable businesses across 5 categories, enjoy hourly upsized cashback and win prizes during the event. RSVP to the Virtual Green Christmas Market now!

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