Creating Less Rubbish Removal Through Mindful Consumerism

As we all strive to put less in our rubbish removal bins, a story from last Christmas, as reported in the Guardian, may serve us well. They reported that Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz, a Canadian dancer who had taken a vow to not buy anything for an entire year except the groceries he needed to stay alive! He stayed true to his vow, and as the end of the year approached, he told his family he wanted no Christmas gifts as part of his pledge. They fudged a little by giving him a roll of used duct tape in his stocking but basically abided by his wishes. His effort should be food for thought to everyone interested in sustainability.

The anti- consumerism movement
The vow that Geoffrey took is a good example of the so called "anti-consumerist movement" or "mindful consumerism." It puts less emphasis on material possessions, which of course reduces the amount of rubbish removal each individual produces on average. This trend seems to be gaining popularity rapidly, particularly among the millennials, who are now entering the age bracket where they have expendable income that retailers so love. The millennials are usually defined as those born after 1980. They follow the Generation X cohort, who are generally considered to be highly capitalistic and quite found of material possessions. Oh, what a difference a generation can make! So, as the holiday season approaches, and we begin to make heart felt resolutions for the New Year, those of us concerned about the future of our planet may want to reflect on the "mindful consumerism" movement and how that may help us create less rubbish removal in our lives. Our landfills are overflowing with rubbish, creating greenhouse gases and contaminating our soil and water. Recycling programs do help but they only slow the inevitable. If we don't find a way to reduce the rubbish removal we create in the first place, our great grandkids may be in a serious pickle! 

Cutting out Christmas gifts?
Here's something rather alarming that was reported in that same Guardian article when you really stop to think about it. They said that people pay on average HALF of their monthly salary on Christmas presents. This means that for most people, if they cut out buying Christmas gifts, they could probably take a nice holiday, make an extra house payment to save on interest, take a course on a topic they have a keen interest, or given a handsome contribution to their favourite charity. All of these things would make a more meaningful impact on their lives for the long-term than buying Christmas gifts, many of which end up in the rubbish removal bin, and then our landfills, less than year later. This is especially true for toys, household trinkets, and clothes! The philosophy of mindful consumerism can help us put less in our rubbish removal bins in other ways too. We must be more "mindful" of what we buy. So, for example, when we're walking the sales isle at a department store, we must resist the urge to impulse buy, based on great price or stunning presentation. We must think through our purchases. Do we REALLY need another electric massager this year? Does our sister REALLY need that packet of perfume and body lotion we see wrapped up pretty in holiday package, all of which will hit the rubbish removal bin almost immediately? How many cologne and after shave kits does dad actually need sitting on his dresser never opened or barely used? Does our dog really need another tug-o-war toy when we could easily make one out of old clothing, complete with our human scent? 

Buying quality over quantity
Mindful consumerism also asks us to consider how long an item will last before we buy it. Do we want to buy a cheap jacket with cheap stitching that will go out of style next season.... or do we want to buy a classic coat with timeless style that has been sewn in way to last for many seasons, perhaps even decades? Do we wear that coat offered to us from our grandfather's closet or do we buy a cheap rip off at the store in the mall? What about shoes? Do we really need twenty pairs of shoes hiding in the depths of our closet? Do we need shoes that are so cheap we don't even consider repairing them when they break? Just think about this. In our grandmother's day, almost every downtown area had a resident shoe repairman. No one tossed their shoes in the rubbish removal bin when they broke.... people would have thought you were crazy if you did! They took them to the shoe repairman and had them repaired for a nominal fee and then kept right on wearing them! Our whole attitude toward what we buy and when we dispose of it has radically changed. 

As a society, it may be time for our youngest generations to lead us back to the time of "The Greatest Generation," those who lived through "The Great Depression" when people saved every scrap they could and made dresses out of flour bags (pretty ones). Clearabee, the UK's leading rubbish removal company, puts a lot of thought into their mission as an ecofriendly corporation, led by none other than Daniel Long, a thoughtful millennial with a clear vision to keep rubbish removal our of our landfills. 

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