A New Way to Consume
Buy local, organic food, environmental products, sustainable fish, responsible clothing, fair trade… what do all these trends have in common? They’re all ways to consume differently. Here’s a guide to deciphering them… and making more responsible purchases!
Consuming has never been more serious: in 2012, average household expenses in Québec rose to $48,870 per year. Price, often considered to be the deciding factor in a purchase, is no longer the sole determinant. Now, the challenge is to strike an environmentally and socially responsible balance of price, quality and accountability.
It sounds like a tall order, but no action is too small. Every little thing you do can adds up to a big difference, not just for today, but for future generations. Often, the simple act of asking ourselves whether we really need to make that purchase is a good place to start. If it’s unavoidable, it can be an opportunity to look for alternative sustainable solutions. You can become a more responsible consumer by supporting local businesses, such as signing up for an Équiterre organic basket. There are a growing number of alternatives, so a little research will lead you to some companies that are sure to become new favourites.
Gently used items are gaining popularity among Québec consumers. A quick tour around the Internet will give you a glimpse of all the second-hand items you can find for a fraction of the cost of new ones. Fair trade options, biodegradable and certified organic products: there are many sustainable options. Be sure to read labels carefully so you can make more informed, more responsible choices and reduce your environmental and social footprint.
Small everyday actions:
- Eat fruits and vegetables in season, when possible.
- Visit websites such as Équiterre to learn more about responsible consumption.
- Use products certified ÉcoLogo (in Canada) or Design for the Environment (in the U.S.), or make your own cleaning products.
- Visit classified advertising sites such as Kijiji to sell, trade or give away items you no longer use.
- Learn about the responsibility practices of your favourite stores or brands.
When it comes to cleaning the house, some environmentally friendly commercial cleaners do the job better than others. Protégez-vous, the Québec consumer magazine, named ENVIROLAB the best everyday all-purpose cleaner in the environmental cleaning products category. That doesn’t mean these products are spotless—according to the magazine, some environmental cleaning products just aren’t tough enough. Finally, get informed, change your habits gradually, and initiate change in your community.