A while back on instagram I saw this sustainability graphic, which has been deemed a “bastardization of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in the name of conscious consumerism” by its creator, Sarah L. It inspired me to want to share the message since I try to live by it already and I want to incorporate more of it into my daily life. Starting from the bottom with the “least impactful” methods of consumerism, meaning they cause the least amount of harm to the earth, I will delve into the tiers in a 6 part blog post series.
Using what you have is the easiest way to avoid increasing the demand for new things to be made. One person alone may not make a big dent in this, but if several people used more items correctly and to the full extent of their usefulness, it could decrease the overall demand for them, and thus decrease production. Decreased production would lead to less pollution. Someone once told me, “The most sustainable [item] is one that already exists.” While that’s not 100% true, it definitely is more wise to use existing items instead of constantly buying new things and thus tapping into and disturbing natural resources.
3 Ways To “Use What You Have” in NEW Ways
- Mix & Match
- Examine & re-examine your closet – make the most of single items by using them in different ways throughout different seasons. Use apps like Closet+ and Stylebook to help create the maximum amount of outfits from what you already own.
- Deep clean your throw pillows and switch them out between rooms – swap your guest room pillows for your living room pillows. Do the same with your curtains – clean and swap!
- Before you throw something away, think of how you can repurpose it – can an old towel serve as cleaning rags? Yes it can – now you won’t need to go buy new cleaning rags that you will eventually throw away, as well.
- DIY & Pinterest! If you want to learn ways to repurpose things that you own so that you don’t discard them easily, search pinterest! No, you won’t be able to repurpose every single things, but you can save a few items in your home by making them something totally new.
- Plan Ahead
- The other day I forgot to pack my water bottle before work – I used a Brita filter pitcher system and fill my 32 oz bottle up to get me through the day. That was ok, right? I could just get water at work. Well, I got to work and the water filter on the refrigerator was expired, and the water was gross. So I didn’t have water all day because I had packed my lunch and didn’t leave work for 8 hours. By the end of the day I felt sick. I knew what I had to do – I stopped and purchased a bottle of water, drank some, and by the time I was halfway through my commute, I felt better. Had I planned better, I wouldn’t have had to purchase a plastic bottle that I don’t have anywhere to recycle. It ended up in the trash. This lesson can work for so many ordeals in life – you go to the beach and forget your sunscreen, so you have to buy more or you go out of town and don’t pack a good variety of outfits, so you have to buy a quick cheap one. Make a list and check it twice. If it’s good enough for Santa, it should be good enough for us. Yes, forgetfulness will happen – no one is perfect – but always plan to use what you have so that you can avoid hasty last minute purchases.
I hope this first installment of Sustainable Living Tips with the Sustainability Pyramid has been helpful! Look forward to 5 more installments coming soon as we make our way up the pyramid leaning more tips to live sustainably by. Remember the Old World New motto: “reuse, sustain, make old new again.”
xoxo dolls & dudes,