When we were little in the 1980s our parents made many of our clothes and baked everything from scratch. We bought local, seasonal produce and saved up for furniture which went on to last years (my parents still have the same burgundy sofa from the late 1980s). Somewhere between 1990 and 2019 the high street became flooded with shops offering cheap, instantly disposable goods and our consumer habits changed for the worse.
We now know that the decisions we make every day have an impact. As consumers, we have so much power to help change the world just by being careful in what we buy. In the absence of any governmental regulations in place to protect the environment and consumers from unsustainable business models, it's our behaviour that will help make a difference.
Here are a few simple steps toward thoughtful consumption:
1. Buy only what you need;
We try and live by the Swedish concept of Lagom (pronounced “lar-gohm”) - it means Not too little. Not too much. Just right.
The philosophy of lagom is beautifully simple, and offers an alternative to the idea of ‘always seeking the next best thing. It’s the opposite of materialism and consumerism.
2. Less is more. Buy less but choose well.
3. Get into the habit of buying used items where you can, or borrow items from friends.
4. Shop for locally-produced products and services.
5. Buy products that are good quality - they will be durable, long-lasting and handmade.
6. Repurpose items to serve a new function;
As we did with our sustainable bathroom project above.
7. Learn to recognise and avoid Greenwashing;
"Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products are environmentally friendly. Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound."
8. Shop for products with packaging that is repurposed or FSC certified, recycled paper/cardboard;
When you receive your item from Freyr and Fell, you may sometimes find your cardboard package or box isn’t brand new. Where possible we re-use the packaging we receive for your orders and when we run out, we purchase FSC certified, recycled cardboard.
No action is inconsequential. If a shop isn’t offering transparency, then ask questions. Where is the item made? Whose hands made it? What is it made of?
Large or small, Independent or Chain, shops need to change the way they buy, and brands their manufacturing process in order to protect the customer and our planet.