Rethinking consumption

Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, is well known as the mantra of sustainability. Waste prevention involves rethinking how we do things to avoid producing waste. By reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ we buy and use, we decrease the resources needed for manufacture, transport and disposal. We also cause less impact on the environment where the materials originate, during their transport and where they are disposed of. We also save money by not buying ‘stuff’ we don’t need.

Reducing our consumption …. Our choices can make a difference

As consumers, we can play our part by thinking about our consumption habits and considering the impact of the products we buy.

Here are some things we can do as consumers to support a circular economy and prevent waste:

1. Rethink

Do I really need it? This is the first question to ask; wanting something and needing it are not the same thing! We’ve become used to replacing things because we feel like it, not because they’ve worn out; perhaps I can make do with what I have.

2. Repair

Can I get it repaired? When we use our stuff so often, sometimes they can get worn down, parts can break and the item can no longer be useful, however, there are many ways we can repair the things we already have. Check where you can search for your local repair service on goods such as clothes, home appliances, furniture and much more.

3. Reuse

Maybe I could borrow or hire it, or perhaps share it with neighbour/friends. Whether we have a need to buy something or if we no longer need to use the stuff we have, there are great ways to give or look for items that can be reused. Whether it’s with neighbours, or online, there are plenty of great quality previously owned items looking for a new home. Check out our partners Community Resources Network Ireland and the Rediscovery Centre to support reuse and upcycling near you.

4. Buy to last

And when we do have to buy new goods, consider what the product is made of. Is the product over-packaged? Does it contain hazardous chemicals? Choosing products that will last long or can be repaired over single use items can help create demand for a circular economy. And when it is worn out, ask can it be recycled at the end of its life?

5. Recycle

If we can’t repair the goods we have, or if it cannot be repurposed or reused then you can check out to learn whether it can be recycled and where you can bring it to be recycled.

Learn more

To understand more about the impact of our production and consumption patterns, watch this short video.