How to Be a Mindful Consumer

Mindless consumerism is depleting Earth's resources, creates a shallow spiritual environment, and wastes money. A mindful consumer thinks more carefully about where his or her money goes, how it is used, and protects the planet. How can you go about this?

Steps

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    Buy only what you need. There's nothing wrong with buying things, but do so with some thought. Can you really do without it? Ask yourself if this is a want or a need? Is there anything about the advertising of this product that is making you think that you will be happier if you buy it?
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    Consider the consequences of your purchase. on your own life and the life of others. This is an important step towards sustainable happiness!
    • Can this be recycled or biodegraded? When this purchase has outlived its usefulness, will it become landfill waste? If so, is that preventable (some things, like medical supplies, cannot be avoided).
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    • Was this product produced ethically? If you are shopping for shoes, for instance, you may wish to research production and labor practices of the brands you desire. If you want to be a mindful consumer, such as where the item was produced, whether the people were paid properly and worked under fair working conditions.
    • Was this product produced with environmental sustainability?In doing so, you also prevent waste and the unnecessary manufacture of potentially damaging products.
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    Choose products with Fair Trade labels, organic labels, or Eco-friendly labels. Supporting these products is a mindful act because it shows that you care about the production methods and impact of the products that you consume.
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    Shop locally. Support local retailers, farms, and organizations. You will help support your community more effectively than giving your money to multinational corporations. You will also cut down the carbon emissions of products sent around the world.
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    Use courtesy. Be polite to retail assistants. A mindful shopper is a considerate shopper who understands the stresses of constant contact with people, including difficult customers and the strain of standing up all day, under bright lights, with scents, noise, and other unwanted invasions surrounding them. When you need help, ask for it politely and if you have a problem, deal with retail assistants and their bosses in an efficient, caring, and assertive way.
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    Dispose of items mindfully. Recycle, reuse, find someone who can use it after yourself. Sometimes, items have to be disposed of at a landfill, but minimize this.
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    Help others be mindful consumers. This won't be easy as some people refuse to worry about the issues surrounding the creation of products but with gentle persuasion, you can fill them in on the facts and help them to better understand and to make mindful consumption choices down the track.

Tips

  • Being a mindful consumer does not necessarily mean NEVER buying anything but organic, local, co-op products. *Garage sales, flea markets, swap meets, thrift shops, and websites like Craigslist are all ways to obtain quality items at low prices without consuming.

Warnings

  • Do not be a judgmental jerk towards those who do not (or possibly cannot) shop in such a mindful way as yourself.

Article Info

Categories: Sustainable Living