It’s been a while since I’ve set a really hard New Year’s resolution for myself. In 2015 I started out on my zero waste journey with a resolution to weigh my trash every month, which lead me to where I am today as a zero waste blogger. But I seem to have plateaued in my personal growth lately when it comes to my trash output. They say that 80% of the results come from 20% of the work, and then the last 20% of the results take 80% of the work. I think that’s where I am at now! Every month I produce a few ounces of trash or so but can’t get it much lower than that. I have cut back my recycling dramatically, consistently compost, and avoid tasty snacks when offered in a plastic package. So what now?
For 2019, I’ve decided to take on a resolution to buy nothing new (which is one of the New Year Resolutions for Die Hard Zero Wasters I talked about a few weeks ago). I want to continue to push myself to find more ways of reducing my carbon footprint, supporting my local community and economy, and not breaking the bank. Buying nothing new will do all of those things!
I currently purchase most of my clothing at thrift stores as well as a handful of other items. But by taking on this resolution, I’ll be taking that to the next level. That freezer I got this summer? I would have to buy that used. The yogurt maker I asked for for Christmas? Next Christmas I’ll be asking for just second hand gifts. If I’m going to make this resolution work, I’ll need you all to hold me accountable as well. But first, I need to establish some ground rules as to what nothing and new mean to me.
Rule #1: I will buy nothing new, “new” being anything that was not previously used, loved, or owned by someone else.
*Note: When I say nothing, there are still a few things I will be buying new. They are:
Personal care and cosmetic products (or their ingredients)
Gifts for other people (although I will try to buy second hand whenever possible)
Sponsored products (Companies will occasionally have me test out and review a product on my blog – I will continue to accept these when they are appropriate in order to pay my bills!)
I’ve selected the above items as exceptions mostly as a personal choice. There are true freegans out there that would tell me I could probably get most of those items second hand or at least only partially used. But, alas, for the purpose of this resolution, I am going to continue buying the most sustainable new underwear I can find. I’m also not ready to take on dumpster diving so I’ll be buying my fruits and veggies from supermarket shelves for now.
If I break my phone charger though, I’ll have to find that used. Same goes for new pillow cases, a spatula, or anything else I might need for my home! I imagine that at times it will be quite difficult. The key is going to be having the patience to look for the item I need when I know I could buy it on Amazon and have it delivered the next day.
I plan on using my local thrift stores a lot! I’ve also just recently joined the Buy Nothing group in my area and couldn’t be more impressed by the high quality items people gift in that group. I may also need to ask friends and family, search Craigslist, or just get creative. When it comes down to it, we have just about enough of everything already made on this planet. Why should I go out and add more to it?
Want to join me in buying nothing new this year? What’s your sustainable New Year’s Resolution?