Nearly every eco-friendly blog or website I visit focuses a lot of it's content on the cool new green stuff you an buy, so that your consumption leaves a smaller footprint on the planet. They forget to mention that an even smaller foot print is left by NOT buying the cool new green stuff. Keeping and using your old stuff, even if the old stuff was not produced in an environmentally friendly manner, is almost always better for the environment then buying new green stuff (see note at bottom). Using your old stuff has the additional advantage of keeping a lot of green in your wallet.
This observation has led me to focus my blog on reusing products whenever possible, but I would like to do more. That is why I am officially issuing a challenge to friends, family, and readers. I challenge everyone to limit their purchases to necessary items only for the entire month of July. Lets try to do what is right for both our world, and our bank accounts.
Who: All of you, your friends, family, friendly strangers, whomever will listen.
What: Limiting purchases to only necessary items.
When: July 2008
Why: To open our eyes to truly sustainable living, both environmentally and economically.
What do you win? Potentially hundreds of dollars, and a new perspective on what is really needed, and what really contributes to our overall happiness and wellbeing.
What is necessary? I will leave this distinction up to you. My list of necessary items includes food (minimally processed, not including take out or eat out), prescription drugs, gas, personal higene products, and anything required for work, or basic home upkeep. It does not include shoes or clothes, craft supplies, or even gifts. I also plan on using items that have been building up in my house, like the speciality lotions that are often received as gifts, before I buy new ones.
Through out the month I plan on giving tips for buying less, and spending less, while living a eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle. This will include eliminating many convenience items from your life, reusing items that would otherwise be discarded, and making or repairing items that would otherwise be bought.
I hope to hear from everyone that takes on this challenge. Please share both success and failure, as well as your own tips and tricks.
Note: When something must be replaced it is better for the environment to buy an environmentally friendly product; however, products are often replaced when they could be repaired or reused.