We live in an interconnected, consumeristic and capitalistic world. Ultimately we are all consumers, but we have the choice what type of consumer we want to be. We have the choice of what we buy and how well we look after our things, and how quickly we dispose of them. The things we purchase, have the potential to harm the environment: during it’s production, transportation and disposal. 

However, you have the choice to become a Green Consumer. It lies in your hands, what type of consumer you are going to be. Green consumers think about the environmental impact of their purchases and whether they need to buy it at all. 

If it can’t be reduced, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.” – Peter Seeger

You have probably heard about the 5Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rott. They have expanded to become the 7Rs! Work your way through all of them and you’ll be well on your way to living a Minimal Impact Life. Some items might still end up in the trash, but when this needs to happen then do it responsibly and recycle or compost what you can.

1. RETHINK: Sit back, and think about the type of consumer you want to be and what this means for the environment. Which companies are very active in Green-Washing their actions? Which companies put environmental protection over their profits?

2. REFUSE: Think before you buy and be prepared to not buy at all. If you use an item only once a while, can you borrow it from a neighbour, a friend or a sharing platform? If you use it more often, can you buy it pre-loved from a second-hand platform such as Ricardo.ch, Tutti.ch or Marketplace? Green consumers buy less and buy products that do the least harm to the environment, such as items that already exist on our planet, giving them a second life.

3. REDUCE: Buy less, buy quality products that have little or no packaging and that last a long time. Items that you no longer need or need rarely you can either donate to someone in need, sell or offer on sharing platforms for others to use.   

4. REUSE: Upcycle something instead of throwing it away. Examples: glass jars can be used to store dry goods, old calendar pages are used as DIY envelopes, old toothbrushes are used to clean hard to reach places, empty toothpaste tubes are used as funnels. 

5. REGIFT: When you regift, you give someone a gift that you received from someone else that you probably didn’t need. Don’t feel guilty about regifting! Passing it on to someone who will enjoy it more than you is a good thing. You just need to follow this etiquette: The gift is brand new and comes in its original packaging. You are certain the gift is something the recipient would enjoy. Don’t pass on handmade gifts that others made for you.

6. RECYCLE: Put things back into the waste stream to be used again for something else. Glass is used for roads, plastics are melted down to make new products. Metal cans and re-used to make new metal cans. Batteries and expired Pharmaceutical products need to be disposed of in appropriate recycling bins.

7. ROTT: Compost your own household waste or take part in a composting program for organic waste. Organic waste that we compost is used to fertilize our gardens or will become Biogas.

For more inspiration and insight, check out our online Resources.