Convenience consumption: how we can be more mindful of our habits to save the planet

Have you ever thought about how you consume? Have you ever really spent some time and paid attention to the things you use each day? Take a moment and think through your day - what did you eat for breakfast? What did you eat your cereal with? How did you get to work? What did you drink your coffee from?

If you live in an urban environment, you more than likely live a hectic life. Running from meetings to gym class to the bar, you can barely keep track of your schedule and to-do list, let alone have a moment to think about what you drink your coffee from or to remember to carry around your reusable coffee cup. It's no wonder that our consumer behaviour, now more than ever, is shaped around quick and disposable consumption. It's convenient, but only in the moment. It's usually less healthy, full of sodium and sugar, expensive and usually horrible for the environment. That's the cost of always being busy, of society always demanding more of us.

Some media try to raise this as an issue and we often blissfully choose to ignore the facts that are thrown at us, such as the fact that over one million disposable coffee cups are thrown into landfills each minute globally. But who cares about that - we don't have the expendable energy to remember to bring our reusable coffee cup with us everyday. It's so much easier to ignore the facts.

But let's rewind and repeat that sentence - over one million disposable coffee cups are thrown into landfills each minute globally. Over one million coffee cups. Every minute. Can you even picture one million coffee cups? We can't, but that sounds like a lot, and it sounds unsustainable. That's 1,440,000,000 coffee cups every day. Definitely unsustainable.

We're not here to make you feel guilty, we just want you to become an educated consumer. You can make every day decisions mindfully, because after all, small changes to our habits can make a huge difference in the long run. So how do we become more mindful consumers?

  • Carry a notebook (or phone app!) around with you for a day, noting down each and every piece of rubbish you dispose of that day

  • At the end of the day, spend some time reflecting on the list. Is there anything you could have avoided throwing out? Could you have eaten in the restaurant to avoid the take-away package? How much of your waste was recyclable or biodegradable?

  • Spend some time educating yourself. After all, knowledge is power

  • Read about the zero-waste lifestyle movement. You don't have to be as extreme, but doing a 30-day zero-waste challenge can be a huge eye opener

 Being mindful of our daily habits can help us be aware of how we can make a difference. Even if it's little tweaks and changes, it's really about deliberate consumption and building new habits. After all, little things make a big difference.

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