Day 3: Buy Smarter and Reduce Consumer Waste
The Goal: To reduce your carbon footprint, today focus on buying local products, reading up on the harms of consumer culture, and looking for things around your house that you could re-purpose.
Did you know that last year 5.1 billion packages were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service alone? Everyday people across the globe are participating in online shopping which is very easy for the buyer but not so easy on the environment. When shopping, it is important to keep in mind how far the item is traveling, how much packaging it has, and the likelihood of you needing to return the item. That goes for both online shopping and in person shopping- always be aware of where your products are coming from. When receiving a package sent from another country, the carbon footprint of your package increases as it is shipped on a boat or plane and driven by a diesel engine to your doorstep. In addition, while there has been some debate on whether or not regular online shopping has a higher carbon footprint than in person shopping, online shopping with high speed delivery tripled the environmental impact of freight transportation (the study can be found here).
Alternatively, buying locally allows for products that were either not shipped at all or already shipped to your town to be bought and used before resorting to products from somewhere else. Consider if you can purchase the same product locally, especially if it is locally made and didn’t travel far. Living in Crested Butte allows for many to be able to walk to restaurants or stores instead of driving. While City Market is 30 miles away, try to buy a lot at once to reduce the amount of trips you have to take. Be sure to take into consideration where products have come from, and use that information to make a more sustainable choice.
In addition, contacting big corporations that use diesel-fueled trucks to transport their products about using electric delivery vehicles is important. Larger changes can be made if larger corporations change their ways, and your voice is important in establishing those changes. Check to see how the company you are using deals with reducing their carbon footprint. For example, Amazon bought 100,000 electric delivery trucks in 2019, which is a start towards larger change.
It is important to remember that consumerism in general is environmentally wasteful. Consumer culture in the US has created the need for people to desire the “next best thing” even if they have little to no need for the product. Always remember to double check what you have before going to buy something new, and take the opportunity to donate or make a gift out of products and clothes that you have but no longer need. In addition, by looking into resale options in the valley such as second hand stores you reduce the carbon footprint of consumerism. Take today as an opportunity to consider what products you need vs. what you already have, or take today to make a homemade gift for your friend’s birthday.