Ten Things Not to Buy in 2010
I think this list is kind of funny because I probably wouldn’t buy a single thing on it anyway, except maybe a newspaper subscription. I disagree that books are going out of style (send me your books! I’ll give them a good home), probably because I’ll never get a Kindle (my eyesight is bad enough without trying to read on yet another computer screen). I can’t understand why anyone in their right mind would buy new college textbooks anyway. And I definitely agree that buying CDs is pointless (when you can get them for free, and save waste in the process). Thumbs up to the no gas guzzling cars or energy inefficient appliances- but that’s another one that should have been a no-brainer.
I have another what not to buy list. In fact, call it a New Year’s challenge to rival the one to exercise more and lose that last ten pounds (except I encourage you to actually try and do this one). In fact, this one is even more of an imperative: it might actually make a difference.
1. Things from the grocery store
If you’re lucky, you live in an area with a farmer’s market and CSAs and co-ops. The marvelous thing about CSAs is that you don’t have to think about it at all- you just show up for your pickup and there is an array of fabulous delicious (local) produce for your selection! There are even meat CSAs and if you are in the right area fruit CSAs- all of which you pay for beforehand, in the winter- so you don’t even need your credit card when you go. The farmer’s market can supplement your purchases with things your CSA doesn’t offer- ranging from bread to pastries to jam to candles to produce to chicken to lamb to eggs and much more. Finally, for those products you can’t typically find at the farmer’s market, you can join a co-op to get (more or less) locally produced dry goods- I get flour and other baking necessities, as well as dry beans and rice, from my co-op. As long as I remember to put in my order each month, a wonderful friend of ours divides up the orders and gives everyone their bills. If you don’t know of a co-op in your area, start one up! It’s easy- it just requires a little extra time each month to put in orders and email everyone when its time to come pick them up. As a result, the only thing I buy at the grocery store is paper towels, and occasional random items like salt and lemon juice.
2. New Electronics
Seriously, why would you even bother to buy new electronics? Talk about a waste of resources. Check out this website for more on why: Last Year’s Model
3. Disposable Pads and Tampons
Many, many, reasons for this one, from the environmental to the personal. Check them out here: Green Girl Talk
4. Anything that comes in individually wrapped packages
And that includes granola bars- as well as candy, gum, tampons, crackers, snack products, and who knows what else. It’s pointless to individually wrap something when you can just buy a big version and save the waste. Besides, have you ever noticed that individually wrapped items are ALWAYS more expensive than bulk? Buy in bulk- save money, save time, save the waste!
I also want to include in this one bottled water. This is the biggest waste of resources known to consumerism, if you ask me. DRINK TAP WATER. If your tap water is not drinkable, bring it up with your city. Don’t spend all your money on bottles of water that are probably not much cleaner than your tap water, AND require ridiculous amounts of energy (and oil) to produce, as they are made out of oil, and the FDA does not allow bottles that contain food products to be made out of recycled plastic. So you can recycle all the water bottles in the world and STILL each new plastic bottle must be made from oil. Besides, even recycling uses ridiculous amounts of energy. Recycling plastic is not efficient.
Handkerchiefs. I had to use a tissue again the other day, after having switched to handkerchiefs maybe… three years ago? And I got snot all over my hand. I was not pleased. Tissues are sad pathetic excuses for handkerchiefs. Believe me, your nose will thank you. I make mine out of old shirts, and just throw them in the wash when they get gross. They come out good as new!
6. Gag gifts/ Keepsakes/ Paper weights/ Things they sell at the Hallmark Store
I find these to be the most irritating things to receive from other people. They don’t DO anything. Apparently sales of them are high because there are entire stores devoted to these sorts of things. I go inside them every once in a while out of fascination: what is all this for? Why do we spend our hard earned money on things that have absolutely no purpose? Gag gifts can be funny, but it is more the concept that is funny, and after you’ve seen them once the laugh is over and that’s the end of it. Then what? Then it just sits around collecting dust and taking up space. Same with the objects people buy- I mean, one or two, sure, but seriously, some people have hundreds of these random little figurines and statuettes and who knows what else sitting around.
Do yourself a favor this year and give your system a break. It will thank you- as will the waterways that are poisoned every year by run off from the corn fields that go into the production of soda and other items made entirely of corn. You can find all about it elsewhere on this blog: here and here and here, to start.
8. Cleaning products, especially the nasty ones
You can clean with vinegar and baking soda. Really. There are tons of recipes out there for making your own cleaning products from very basic ingredients, and there are even more recipes for personal care products. Do some research, be a little creative and DIY, and spare our waterways from the nasty chemical runoff coming from our sinks and drains. No one needs fish kills and fish with both types of reproductive organs. If you must buy cleaning products, look for things that are biodegradable and contain the least number of toxic death chemicals possible. And buy in bulk.
I once made a pact with my cousin not to buy any new clothing for a year. I used to have a serious addiction to buying clothing, especially shoes, and found myself spending an awful lot of money and time on the pursuit, and then not wearing half of what I bought. So I made a pact, and I broke the habit. Now I still almost never buy clothing, unless I really need something, and when I do I try and give away at least one item in my closet (to keep it even). I think in the last year I’ve bought: underwear, new snow boots, and leggings (which I wear every day). Definitely saves an awful lot of money, and reduces waste.
This one is just because they annoy me. I know I already put “electronics” on the list, but I hold a special level of dislike in my heart for iPhones and Blackberries and the rest of them. When my dad is interrupting conversations to check his email on his Blackberry, and my friends are surreptitiously taking pictures of me and uploading them to facebook on their iPhones while we’re hanging out, I develop more and more reasons why the internet should just stay on the darn computer.
14 January 2010
Ten Things Not to Buy in 2010