More often than not, the motivation to consume differently is financial or environmental or both, among other reasons. We’re talking about the responsible consumer.
What is responsible consumption?
According to the belgium.be portal, responsible consumption is understood as the consumer using his or her purchasing power to “provide for their basic needs (food, shelter, heat, transportation, etc.) while taking into account sustainability criteria, that is, ecological, social and ethical factors.”
Dedicated to better consumption: 9 habits to learn
So you want to start consuming differently. You can get started with just a few changes.
- Buy local. Buying local means less travel for you and for the purchased goods. All great for reducing your carbon footprint.
- Eat organic Organic means fewer chemicals in the food industry. Better for your health and for the health of the planet.
- Buy ethical. Choosing to make ethical purchases is a means of refusing an economic model where children work and producers are paid peanuts. There are plenty of ways to find out more about fair trade. Labels help you identify ethical products (Fairtrade, Max Havelar, etc.) in supermarkets, or you can shop in specialized stores like Oxfam.
- Repair, don’t throw out. There are plenty of repair solutions out there. They range from repair cafes to internet tutorials to a sewing class near you… Look around you; find a friend or neighbor who DIYs or an electromechanical student. They would be happy to repair your bike or alarm clock.
- Donate, don’t throw out. Where do you donate? Les Petis Riens, donation centres, recycling centres, public social welfare centres (CPAS), schools, maternity homes… these are just a few of the places where you can drop off items you no longer use.
- Recycle. Almost everything can be recycled. There are home pickups (plastics, cardboard, gardening or organic waste), collection points (batteries, cartridges, corks, etc.) and recycling centres… you’ll be surprised to see that (almost) everything is valued.
- Think zero waste. Recycling is great, but buying products that generate little to no waste is even better.
- Do it yourself. It’s actually kind of fun to make things yourself. Imagine baking your own bread, sewing clothing and accessories, tinkering with gadgets. You could make some fun decorations and furniture using fruit crates, for example.
- Don’t buy. We know the shopaholics out there won’t be happy, but truly the best action to take is to not buy. You should ask yourself: do I need this item, or do I want this item? Am I buying this green jumper because it looks nice or because I’m cold? If the item is something that I actually need: I’ll buy it. If I just want to have it, I won’t buy it. Want to take one step further towards responsible consumption? Easy: rent instead of buying! There are plenty of solutions. For clothing (coucoushop.be, costumes.be, etc.), cars (Cambio, Drivy, etc.), bikes (Villo, bimbim bikes, un vélo à la gare, etc.), items (Usitoo, DIY stores, etc.).
Is responsible consumption just a fad or a societal phenomenon?
Félicien Bogaerts, founder of “Biais vert” once said, as a guest on Première (interview in French) in November 2018, that “We need climate change to become an obsession for as many people as possible.”
The fight against climate change is no longer just trendy, but a matter of necessity.
One global warming march on 2 December in Belgium has now turned into multiple global warming marches (every Thursday and Sunday in Brussels). This weekly mobilization (initiated by young people) shows us that a change in thinking is happening now.
Everyone should reflect on their daily acts, of which many affect the climate. Much more than a fashion or trend, responsible consumption is becoming a vital necessity. The website Global Stewards offers plenty of ideas for alternative consumption. Transition initiatives and offerings from economic players are flourishing on the sustainable and responsible market; all you have to do is to take a look around.
When an item becomes useful
Who owns anymore? To rent, borrow, recycle, repair: these are the new action words for responsible consumers.
What can you rent? Everything (well, almost) from a tent or Kärcher products to a bike rack or board games! All this and more can be found in the Usitoo catalogue.
Long-term or short-term, for all your needs (or wants). Usitoo has thought of everything: children, animals, do-it-yourselfers, party-goers (music, furniture, dishes, barbecues, disco balls), cooks (at home or professional), vacationers (trailers, tents), gardeners, athletes and DIY fans.
Think of everything you could create or repair with the hundreds of items in our extensive catalogue. Searching is easy: you can do so either by topic or by item. Have any questions? Contact our team.