October is Buy Nothing New Month. It’s a one month challenge to buy nothing new (with the exception of essentials like food, hygiene and medicines) – so don’t feel you have to go without deodorant if you run out.
Buy Nothing New Month isn’t Buy Nothing New Never. Nor is it about going without.
It’s literally about taking one month off to really think, “Do I really need it?” If I do, “can I get it second-hand, borrow it or rent it? What are my alternatives? Can I borrow from a friend? Can I swap with my neighbour?”
It’s about thinking where our stuff comes from (finite resources) and where it goes when we’re done (often landfill) and what are the fantastic alternatives out there to extend the life of our ‘stuff’.
For those of you who do not believe that this is a problem just consider that in 2005 we admitted to spending over $10 billion every year on goods we do not use: clothes and shoes we never wear, CDs we never listen to, DVDs we never watch and food we never eat and each year in Australia nearly 20 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill.
I think the timing of this month is excellent as we move towards the silly season when we truly spend ridiculous amounts on things we don’t need – you guessed it Christmas is coming. Buy nothing new month is a good reminder that we don’t necessarily have to buy new all the time. Good practice.
Voting with your money
You can help create a world you’d like to see. Each time your spend money, your supporting that ‘thing’. If you want to see more sustainable production, look into where what you’re buying comes from. Is it made locally, with good design and built to last? Or is it a cheap import, with loads of air miles that will break down quickly, requiring replacement? Often something is cheap because of unfair processes and working conditions, where the real cost (human labour and the cost of the materials) are not represented on the price tag. How cheap is it really in the long run?
One in, one out
A great way to maximise the life in ‘stuff’ is to keep it in circulation. Every time you buy something, can you replace it with something from your wardrobe you can donate to your local charity. After all we can all only wear one outfit at a time!
Second hand Wonderland
If you’re not into the world of second hand shopping, you are really missing out. Added bonus: buying second-hand at op shops means you not only get a ‘new’ treasure, but your money contributes to the fantastic community programs that charities implement. Win-win!
Swishing could be the future of sustainable fashion. Swapping clothes shoes or accessories with friends or acquaintances. It’s ethical, eco-fabulous, social and fun.
Before giving into that impulse buy, ask yourself:
Do I really need this?
What is its lifecycle? What went into making it (time, labour, resources)
What are the alternatives?
Where did it come from? How did it get here?
What is its environmental and social impact?
Who benefits from the purchase? What will it do for me?
What’s in it? Who made it?