Responsible Consumption?

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January 22, 2010 by missmegany

All throughout December, people kept asking me what I was going to buy first, or what I missed the most. To be honest, I think I’ve successfully built up a tolerance to shopping–even for Kath Kidston fabric (it’s £12/metre price tag helps), stationery or pasta maker attachments.

A good way to get over it has been to go shopping with my friend Paul. I’ve gone into game shops with him and he’ll easily spend £40-£60 on games. In my mind that would buy me at least 10 pieces of clothing in a charity shop (including the Gap wide-leg trousers I bought and Mac’s Diesel jeans we’ve bought since Jan 1), so I can’t imagine spending £40 on one game that you’ll get sick of after a few weeks. I had no concept of how expensive those were!

It’s also strange to think of how more disposable games have become since I was a kid. Up until the late 1980s, most people would buy card or board games (unless you were lucky enough to have an Atari) and you’d have it for years. Now although you have one console, you then need multiple games to keep it fresh and new.
I have bought some things new, however, mostly based on a new year’s resolution. My goal is to become more skilled–carpentry/wood working, food preserving, bike maintenance, dressmaking and altering, etc. So I’ve now bought myself two new rolls of duct tape, a French curve, a rotary cutter, a marking pencil, and some upholstery tacks. Since then I’ve made myself a dress form out of a charity shop shirt and duct tape (which is mostly correct to my shape), found a tutorial on how to alter a men’s dress shirt into a cute shirtdress, and reupholstered the dining room chairs we got a couple years ago from Freecycle. Now I just need to learn what to do in terms of sewing and altering. I’m thinking about trying stuff out on my own (I bought an old edition of the Complete Photo Guide to Sewing to try to teach myself), and then going to lessons with Ria and June when I get stuck.

Buy Nothing New year might be over, but I still think a LOT before buying anything new.  I’m not quite sure what responsible consumption is, though. There’s a LOT of greenwashing that goes on, a lot of actually ethical options for leisure products (like this and this out of many examples), and a lot of stuff that seems to be half ethical (Fairtrade cotton, but not the production of the clothing? Organic veg, but flown in from Chile?). Not to mention the fact that no matter how many fairly made organic cotton T-shirts there are, it’s not sustainable if we all buy a new one every two weeks! Turns out 10% of the “average” woman’s wardrobe sits unworn.

I’m not sure what “responsible consumption” really is, but I’m certainly going to work at it.

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Welcome!

Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.

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