A recent blog post in Popular Science called “Overconsumption is killing the planet. What can we do?” the author points out some startling statistics which highlight the idea that there is a world wide problem of too much stuff being produced cheaply, used shortly, and tossed in the trash thoughtlessly. For example:
- Globally, 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced each year. Just in the United States, over 300 million of those shoes end up in the landfill, where they will take up to 40 years to decompose.
- In the 1960’s Americans bought 25 new pieces of clothing per year. Today, they are buying up to 70 new pieces of clothing per year! What happens to the cheaply made articles no longer wanted? Most importantly, what is the environmental cost of producing so much “fast fashion”?
Availability of a wide variety of cheap goods has grown over the past hundred years. The cost has come at a high price to the world’s environment. The demand for resources to make transient goods has ruined ecosystems, endangered biodiversity of many regions of the world and greatly contributes to global climate change.
What can you do to avoid overconsumption in your life? Asking yourself some simple questions is a good way to start.
Is this something that I need?
Is this something I will use a long time?
What will happen with this item when I am no longer able to use it?
Is it compostable?
In short, If the answer is “no”, maybe it’s a good idea to pass on the purchase. It’s good for you, and good for the earth!
Article sited: https://www.popsci.com/environment/overconsumption-sustainability-climate