Plastic-Wrapped Bananas by Clarissa A.
I am currently wearing a second-hand T-Shirt and a pair of shorts I have owned since high school. Given I am 27 years old, that might not necessarily make me fashionable, but my clothes are practical, simple and timeless. As the oldies still fit me, I don’t mind that I am known to wear my clothes for longer than most other people. However, I have not always chosen quality over quantity. These decisions came with age and with long intervals of traveling during which I learned to control my consumerism as a result of the space in my backpack being limited. Knowing that you don’t need much in everyday life is fundamental to being a conscious consumer. In addition to reducing consumption, to me, being conscious means discriminating my wants from my needs, knowing where the products I purchase come from and being mindful of production methods. Furthermore, it entails choosing reusable materials over single-use products, repairing instead of replacing, and finding recycled and upcycled alternatives. It has never been easy to find unpackaged products, especially in Bali. With this blog post, I advocate for more shops selling unpackaged products and urge you to refuse plastic bags when they are offered. Carry your own tote bag instead! Needless to say, it is certainly each consumer’s choice to be ethical and conscious when shopping.
Traveling the world, walking through markets, shops and streets I see the beauty of Mother Earth but also the most peculiar things such as plastic-wrapped bananas. Mass production and spending habits that are not yet considerate of the environmental and social impact are evident everywhere. Frightening rubbish pits linger behind resorts and the amount of plastic found in fishermen’s nets which is thrown back into the ocean is not only highly upsetting but also frustrating. The lack of consciousness is also prevalent on our beaches which I encounter on my weekly beach clean-ups. A spark of hope amidst all this rubbish can be seen in a large number of locals coming to participate. Children are always the most motivated! At times I have the feeling that help has come too late and I wonder where to start.
TRI Upcycle has released a handbook called “10 Budget-Friendly Tips to be an Ethical and Conscious Consumer“, which nicely explains the large number of choices we have in our everyday lives as consumers. Being inspired by their words and the entire mission of TRI Upcycle, I am already planning an afternoon to go thrifting clothes with my girlfriends back in Germany. First, thrifting extends the lifespan of the pieces that we own but no longer wear. Second, I believe that buying second-hand makes us more satisfied. Third, organizing a social event is a great way to spread awareness of conscious consumption.
There are so many interesting and fun ways to consume consciously, to contribute to a cleaner and more biodiverse planet earth, and to enrich your life while you do so. What are you doing to become a conscious consumer?