The Buy Nothing New… Year

The other day I made my New Years resolution, given the shit storm 2020 has been, I’m hoping 2021 will bring better times and thinking ahead. Anyway, I decided I would give the “buy nothing new for a year” another crack (the last time I tried was in 2017 and it was the prelude to starting this blog). Then I thought… why wait until New Year’s? Why not start now? It is Buy Nothing Month after all!

Following the Buy Nothing New Month theory, we’re not talking about becoming a martyr, items of necessity are excluded (although it’s wise to apply the zero waste hierarchy rules to all of life). So no, I wont be looking for secondhand shampoo or only foraging for food. The idea is to minimise unnecessary purchasing (consumerism) and to follow a zero purchasing hierarchy (similar to the zero waste hierarchy).

The Rules:

  • Necessities such as food and toiletries are excluded
  • The challenge includes gift giving
  • What I buy for the rest of my family is included
  • It’s ok if I do buy something new. I’ll make note of it and keep going with the challenge
  • The start date is 28th of October 2020. I’ll check in again in 12 months time.

Zero Purchasing Hierarchy

  1. Refuse – do you really need the item? Can you live with out it? If so, avoid purchasing it all together.
  2. Reduce – If you need the item, do you need it as often? Do you need as much?
  3. Reuse – can you reuse what you already have. Borrow from friends and family, or a local tool, book or toy library.
  4. Upcycle/make – turn something that can longer be used into something else. Make the item from scratch if it’s possible.
  5. Purchase secondhand – eBay, Facebook market place, op shops, vintage shops, garage sales etc.
  6. Purchase new sustainably – without being greenwashed purchase items that are ethically sourced from reputable and certified companies.
  7. Purchase new good quality – if all else fails and life cannot go on without “it”, purchase the item but look for good quality, built to last and easier to repair.
Powershop’s guide to ethical giving.

But why?

Because the system is broken.

The system by which we purchase goods is destroying the environment, clearing forests, entrapping people into modern day slavery (most of which are women and children, which shouldn’t surprise you)and making the rich richer. And guess what?! All that stuff we buy, all the clothes, the countless things, they don’t actually make us any happier in the long run. This is a trick. The happiness we feel after going shopping is a release dopamine, the short term happiness chemical (we want more of the long term happiness chemicals like oxytocin). In fact, all this stuff just make us more miserable, cluttering up our minds and our homes.

I’ll let Annie Leonard explain a little further for me:

I’ve also written about The Story of Stuff in my earlier post on Minimalism. In that post I note that I’m not anti-consumption. We all need to buy things from time to time and to some extent we all love certain stuff and, in a way things can bring us pleasure. But it’s when consumption crosses the line to unnecessary consumerism that’s the problem.

Wish me luck! Also… feel free to take the pledge with me!

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