LIVING Green Star © 2017 Green Building Council of Australia

  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
Living Green Star logo

Buy nice, not twice



Do you wonder why it is so hard to find products today that last as long as they used to?

You're not alone.

Where there used to be an expectation that furniture, for example, would last a lifetime, it is now expected that furniture will last us less than 10 years. While this consumerism means we’re paying less for goods, there’s a hidden cost, quality. For retailers, this is a win, because low quality keeps us coming back for more. However, there are serious environmental implications for this kind of behaviour like growing landfill, which is already bursting at the seams.

This is a global concern, and as a result some consumers are opting to buy for more expensive, higher quality items in an attempt to reduce the strain on wallets, and on the environment, or in simpler terms 'buy nice not twice'.

So, if you want to experiment with the concept of buying nice not twice, here are some ideas.

Let's start in your wardrobe

Major retailers are increasingly flirting with 'fast fashion' where clothes are produced to only last a few wears. These items are often made with purely synthetic materials like polyester or nylon, which are hazardous to the environment because of the fumes emitted during the production process, and their inability to properly degrade.

Retailers are not making it easy for consumers to make sustainable choices. Many are not responding to consumer demand for natural fabrics and are instead overwhelming the market with synthetics. Consumers are also seeking supply chain transparency from their favourite brands, but this has only exposed more issues. After all, it was only last year that Burberry was caught burning $50 million worth of clothes, accessories and perfumes in an attempt to avoid discounting the products, and protect its brand image.

Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) is an industry body that is responding to consumer demand for brands to slow down and increase supply chain transparency. The ECA's clothing index identifies the brands that are prioritising sustainable production and supply processes and a quick search reveals a number of Australian brands taking on these issues.

So when you’re out shopping for your summer wardrobe instead of buying into fast fashion, try to look for clothes made from natural fibres like cotton or wool, as these should last you longer. Or better yet, check out second hand and vintage stores for clothes that have already proven that they can stand the test of time.

Flick the switch to LED

With the wide array of light bulbs available, and each having advantages and disadvantages, it can be confusing trying to work out which kind of bulb to choose, however the LED bulb outshines the rest. While LEDs are more expensive than incandescent, halogen or CFL bulbs, they are far more economical as they consume less energy, have longer lifetimes and are far more robust bulbs than anything else on the market.

Recharge and reuse

Batteries are made up of various chemical components including lead, zinc, lithium and many others, these chemicals tend to stay in the waste cycle for a long time and have a significant impact on the environment. Using rechargeable batteries reduces this stress on the environment and as a result they have been growing in popularity. Rechargeable batteries are no different to a household battery, except that a charger can restore their positive energy, and while they do cost more, they can be used again and again if they are treated with care. It is worth keeping in mind that some devices are more suitable to new fully charged batteries than recharged batteries, as they can lose their charge faster – so it’s best to use them in your TV remotes, or radios, rather than smoke alarms.

Look for simple solutions, like straws

Here’s a quick suggestion that you can implement today! Why not try a metal reusable straw instead of buying packages of plastic disposable straws? This will not only reduce the burden that straws have on the environment, but it will also save you cash in the long term.

#sustainabilityhacks #circulareconomy #recycling #waste #homehacks