Guess what—there will never be an end to consumerism. Educate people on the landfills running out of space, the toxic emissions released into the environment, and how only a fraction of what is recycled actually gets recycled; but buyers gonna buy.
You’d think a two-year long pandemic on such a scale would be enough to make folks reconsider the things that are truly of value. If anything, it seemed a momentary blip before the world resumed normalcy, and its citizens returned armed with pent-up consumerism they call Revenge Shopping. Take a look at the statistics and you’ll see that the dip in the pattern has since been on a steady increase.
We’ve generated 1.86 million tonnes of domestic waste in 2022 (out of a total of 7.39 tonnes of solid waste). It’s up from 1.82 million tonnes the year before, and it would be no surprise if numbers are projected to rise. To make matters worse, foreign countries are now implementing import bans of recyclables. Want to take a stab at the total recycling rate of discarded textiles? The lowest of all collected materials at a meagre 2 percent.
Think about the last time you made a purchase you thought would change your life. Now contrast that with how you feel about it now. Even if it still stands as a wise deal, the visceral level of excitement can never match up. So back to the (case in) point. Consumerism will never end because people will never figure out how to satisfy the empty void in their hearts which is further exploited by an advertising culture on steroids to fuel a never-ending pursuit for economic growth. Hurrah.
While there is no hard and fast solution, our proposition is this. Rather than be deluded that recycling will salvage your poor decisions, make better ones.
Of course, we can’t afford to constantly live a fully sustainable lifestyle which isn’t tuned into modern society. We can, however, spend a little more effort to source for items that were perhaps bought by others in the spur of the moment. Or an item carted out online which arrived untrue to the buyer’s size, never worn. If the piece has been lightly used, is there a practical reason why it can’t be utilised again? Or simply an ingrained stigma propagating that pre-owned equates to inferior?
Instead of gratifying the illogical desire for the new and shiny, or conforming to the gifting practice of senseless knick-knacks under a budget; consider giving a deeper meaning to the season. Not just giving loved ones a token of appreciation, but the gift itself a second lease of life.