The journey towards conscious consumerism

It’s about changing both sides of a coin

Conscious consumption is an umbrella term that simply means engaging in the economy with more awareness of how your consumption impacts society (and environment) at large.

I’m attaching a link to a comprehensive guide at the end of this article that explores the topic more in-depth.

  • It’s not only up to consumers to clean or solve the environmental, social or economic mess our society is going through; the change and improvement needs to start at the very beginning (at ideation and production level);
  • As consumers and human beings, we have the power to enforce positive change through voting, creating laws to extend producers' responsibility or changing our habits and behaviours.

Where to start?

When I started learning more about what can I do to lessen my impact, few questions came to mind:

  • Where to start?
  • Can a single individual make a [real] difference? Yes.
  • What is the actual scale of my consumption impact? How to get the idea of its scale through visualising it?
An excel sheet overview of packaging type from different products, where it comes from and if it can be avoided
Tracking the source of waste based on the method from the book: Turning the tide on plastic
  • Have a reusable bag ready in my bag or backpack (always)
  • Get or create a couple of produce bags to replace plastic ones
  • Shop mostly at markets to avoid unnecessary packaging (I still don’t understand the purpose of a single wrapped piece of paprika)
  • Replaced water bottles and soda with tap water (if you live in a city and have a luxury of drinkable tap water, it could be a good way to go)
  • Occasionally buy in bulks or go to stores with refill stations (these stores are unfortunately on the other side of the town)
  • If possible, avoid buying ready-made dishes (not all the plastic is recyclable, and if then only a tiny percentage)
  • Have a shopping list ready to buy only stuff we need
  • Bring my own ‘to go’ mug to my favourite café; they even offer you an incentive in the form of a discount
  • Freeze, store or give away excess food, so it doesn’t go to waste

Food Delivery

One of the biggest game-changers was to abandon food delivery. Below is a description of the packaging used per one meal order:

Making responsible choices (may) cost you

Groceries, cosmetic products or household items produced responsibly will often cost you more. You should be ready to pay for the actual costs of labour and resources used, at least for now.

Reduce and reuse

Being a conscious consumer is about what type of products we buy or how they were produced. It’s also about how much we buy and why we buy.

  • What is the purpose of ‘an item I’m buying’ in my life? For how long will I be using it?
  • How can I repurpose things to prolong their life or give them a second chance?
  • Do I need all the things I own, or I own them simply because I have money to purchase them?
  • Do I let trendiness guide my shopping choices? Or do I make purchase choices on my own while being true to my values?

So what is a way to move forward?

Keep breaking the known or familiar habits and encourage good ones to reduce your impact on the environment.



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Ada Ubrezi

I enjoy researching different topics, occasionally, I’ll turn them into articles.