I’m trying to change the way I approach buying stuff. I’ve started to think about each purchase as a vote. Humour me here:
If I buy a plastic container full of disposable plastic cotton buds the folks at the top will think ‘Oh, excellent, they sold. Let’s make more. Let’s make more things like that. This is what people want.’
But this is not what I want.
Have you seen that picture doing the rounds of the seahorse holding onto a plastic cotton bud? I don’t want plastic pollution in the sea so why am I voting for it by buying it? Furthermore, why on earth am I voting for it when there are easy, better alternatives? Today I bought organic cotton buds with paper sticks. They’re still disposable and yes, that’s bad (I’ve still got a way to go) but there’s now no plastic. One tiny vote of mine goes towards paper over plastic.
I used to buy any old shampoo and conditioner from the supermarket that promised to leave my frizzy wavy hair shiny and sleek. So that’s what I was voting for. Now I use a bar of shampoo from Lush. I haven’t got to grips with conditioner alternatives yet so I’ve started buying conditioner from Faith In Nature whose ingredients are from ‘naturally derived, cruelty-free sources’. This morning I bought a Faith in Nature shampoo for my other half as I noticed in the shower that his shampoo was running low. Another vote for eco-friendly alternatives.
Plus all this stuff was bought from an independent, local health food shop. That’s a vote for local shops, for independent shops and for shops that offer healthy and environmentally friendly options.
This is where I want my money to go. I’m aware that I am very lucky to be able to afford some of these alternatives as they can be more expensive and harder to find (something that might change if more people vote for them by buying them). Thankfully there are also choices to be made that don’t necessarily cost more money – buying vegetables loose, using reusable shopping bags, mending holes in clothes rather than buying new ones, to name but a few. I’m also aware that I’ve got a long way to go if I really want to make much better choices – less plastic, no palm oil, smaller carbon footprint etc. etc. But I honestly believe that these very small changes that I am starting to make will make a difference. I’m putting my money where my morals are.