On NOT buying

What’s something that you haven’t bought? For me, it’s on-the-go Zero Waste kits. I think they’re really cute, but for me personally, I have all of the components I need at home anyway, so it would just be a waste. Here’s what I use instead: my son’s metal toddler cutlery, a dishcloth, my water bottle and travel mug, and a little bag.


Every time I find myself in a store, or online, looking at a cute little kit of travel cutlery, I remind myself that the purchase would go against the Zero Waste values by which I try to live. Impulse purchases can be really tempting, and I’m not always successful, even now! But I try.

Because, I know that at the end of the day, low-waste living is NOT about an aesthetic. We cannot buy our way our of the climate crisis and into a sustainable world—trying to do so is completely missing the point and would bring about the opposite result. Instead, we need to shift away from the reckless consumerism upon which our society is built.

Of course, there are things that we need to buy! But I’m referring to things that we know deep down that we don’t need. Especially with it being #plasticfreejuly, it’s important to remember that a lot of products marketed toward Zero Waste living are just, well, more marketing.

Here are some questions that I find helpful when arguing with my internal demons over an impulse purchase. They’re not always right for every purchase (for example: making every single item you own may not be worth your time and energy).

  1. Did you have something like this in mind before you saw it, or is it purely an impulse buy?
  2. Does this fill a true need in your life?
  3. Do you have something else that you can use instead?
  4. Can you borrow it, make it, or buy it secondhand?
  5. Is this a company that you want to support with your dollar?

LeahStellaPayne-Sig-BLKScreen Shot 2019-07-05 at 6.20.48 PM

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