Consumers are currently convinced that sustainability is the right answer to the responsible management of the planet's resources. But in a world where companies continue to do greenwashing, actually doing things in a sustainable way is becoming more and more difficult as you risk making mistakes unwittingly.
Every single daily activity that a consumer does has an inherent cost that is often unknown or not considered to turn a good deed into a bad one. To try to understand what may be the most common mistakes that each one of us does not realize we are making, we have decided to summarize them and find the alternative solutions that are more sustainable.
When we go shopping at the supermarket, we have been taught that using plastic bags is wrong and choosing cotton bags is the right choice. This would only be right if we used the ones we already have and did not buy new ones. If the production processes of a plastic bag were compared to cotton bags, the latter would have to be used 20,000 times or for about 55 years to have the same environmental impact as a disposable plastic bag. Cotton is, in fact, a material that requires a high cost of environmental resources due to both the high demand for water and the use of chemicals during its production that deplete the ozone layer of the planet.
When it comes to buying handbags but above all clothing, the fundamental rule is: do not buy to follow a fashion but only when you need them. And in this case, choose companies that reflect in every aspect the ethicality so professed. You have to look for it in the materials of which the products are made, in the environmental certifications of the production processes, in the type of packaging chosen, in the way a shop is set up and in the participation in reuse and recycling campaigns. Finally, we must not forget all the second-hand and vintage methods that certainly help to give new life to garments still ready to be worn by a new owner.
As for the theme of recycling, it is essential to follow this principle: if you do it, it must be done well. Suffice it to say that just one wrong product inserted in the recycling container, makes the whole load null and void. Like when we see plastic bags used to throw the paper into its dedicated container. So, in case you have any doubts, first of all, you have to inquire about all the online portals available, and in case you do not know what to do, rather throw it in the undifferentiated but never risk damaging a specific waste collection.
In general, however, you have to follow a few golden rules that include each category of product and activity:
- "The less you throw away, the better": any object we own, before throwing it away, you can try to use it for a new function, to transform it into art or to give it as a present. In fact, the less we overload the waste system, the more we protect the ecosystem. However, it is now clear that we must adopt the circular economy and abandon the linear economy that has become incompatible with the objectives of safeguarding the planet;
- "if the routes allow it, it is better to go there on one's legs": whether it is car sharing or electric mobility, walking will never generate the pollution produced by any other choice of transport;
- "if you can't pronounce it, don't buy it": from food to cosmetics, any product that contains elements with a complicated name among the ingredients will mean that it is not as natural as it is defined but will be rich in chemical compounds.
If we wanted to continue with these types of reasoning, there would still be many aspects to analyse. What is certain is that right now everyone probably already has everything they need. The only thing they need instead is the imagination and creativity to use their resources more efficiently by looking within themselves for the solution to their needs.
Photo by Seksak Kerdkanno from Pixabay