People support Causes in all manner of ways. This being Buy Nothing New Month, Lily Ray decided to show her support by posting a blog about the Cause each day of the month. Here is one of Lily’s early posts on why she is currently buying nothing new and why we should seriously think about joining in as well.
I wrote a column in the Newcastle Herald about why I’m buying nothing new. Go there to have your say about it, or read it below.
No matter how much effort you put into buying the right type of toothpaste, it still comes in a foil and plastic tube.
Clothes that won’t break the bank (and even some that will) are made in sweatshops.
Eggs advertised as free range are often laid by chooks with their beaks and wings clipped.
It’s impossible to consume with a clean conscience.
What seems to be healthy, kind to animals and eco-friendly is usually so expensive that it’s unrealistic and unsustainable for the average person’s regular consumption.
The obvious, but rarely acknowledged, answer is to simply not buy things, with the exception of food and other necessaries.
A few weeks ago, I started feeling particularly suffocated and decided I needed to make a change.
I bought a book, All You Need is Less, about greening the household (and yes, I can appreciate the irony) with recipes for home-made, eco-friendly dishwashing detergent, shampoo and conditioner and all manner of other ‘‘essentials’’.
The author, Madeleine Somerville, pointed out there was an ugly duckling in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra. The first ‘‘R’’ gets very little attention.
You can’t boast to a friend that you avoided buying a large soy latte that morning because you didn’t want to waste a cup (or $5.50).
Making reduction something to boast about is the idea of the Buy Nothing New October campaign.
The name doesn’t have the same ring to it as Dry July or Movember, but it’s got an excellent message.
A 2005 Australian Institute study found Australians spend $10billion every year on things we don’t even use, let alone need. Twenty-milliontonnes of that stuff ends up in landfill.
I recently moved house, and packing the boxes was an embarrassing nightmare, not just because the dust triggered hay fever. The number of objects was astonishing.
As the Buy Nothing New crew are quick to point out, the idea is not to starve yourself, say ‘‘maybe next time’’ to essential medication, or offend others with your lack of deodorant.
It’s about thinking about what you’re buying. Some helpful questions from Somerville you could ask yourself are:
Do I really need this? Do I have room for it? What is it made of? Who made it? How will I dispose of it when I’m finished?
I’m the kind of person who experiences consumer guilt over a weekly train ticket, but also the kind who thinks ‘‘well, I’ve already bought a thing, so I’ve ruined everything anyway and might as well just keep buying things’’.
That could be symptomatic of a consumption disorder, but I’m going to try to get it together.
I started Buy Nothing New October yesterday, and at the time of writing hadn’t bought a thing.
I mailed a parcel to a friend in Sydney from the Adamstown Post Office, but I don’t think that counts.
Visit buynothingnew.com.au for details.
Lily Ray is a Journalist at the Newcastle Herald, a part-time pub musician and currently buying nothing new. Follow Lily’s daily blog about the trials and tribulations of reducing her consumption during October here