Thoughts of Sustainable Shopping

As a kid I used to buy a lot of stuffs. 97% might be something that I don’t really need but I am privilege to have parents that can afford the silly consumerism side of me when I was little. Then, I went to study in Australia and had to move every 6 months for 2 years. It was a pain in the arse, especially when you have a lot of stuffs. Ever since I never overbought. I just use what I can use at home and shop basic for fashion.

Living in Australia doesn’t only teach me how to buy less, but also to live sustainably. Most of people in Australia, in my opinion, have higher awareness for sustainability and climate change compare to the people in Indonesia. Hence, eco-friendly becomes a lifestyle that almost everyone tries to implement in every aspect of their daily lives, including me. I became so excited with the amount of businesses that incorporate sustainability and eco practices in their company in Australia. I can now support sustainability and be a responsible shopper. However, as I dig deeper into sustainability and eco-friendly businesses, I realize there is another problem than just shop sustainably. Once an substance, a tangible product or an item is produced, they have nowhere to go but planet earth, the planet that we are living in at the moment (unless they finally find another planet for us to migrate to). Unless they are recycled or repurposed, they are just going to be junk, filling our space on the earth.

Ok, buying natural product I agree is a better option compare to plastic that takes forever to decompose. But unless we eventually re-purpose it when it’s no longer usable it’s gonna be a junk. In fact, it also creates emission to produce this items that often larger than disposable plastic. Take a look on how many metal straws are bought and by the end of x month, we forget to bring it all the time and accept the plastic straw instead (I’m talking about ya Jakartans). Cloth shopping bag too or goodies bag. It releases more emission to produce compared to a single used plastic bag. Another example is paper bag. Unless it’s made from recycled paper, we’re killing our oxygen provider (re: trees). Although paper company have their ‘conservation’ policy, the reality often doesn’t seem as they promised. Read: Indonesian Paper Industry Destroys More Trees Than Planting Trees (Bahasa).

Although buying less and minimalism lifestyle seems to be the key to reduce production of things, there are a lot at stake if that happens, especially the economy cycle. But I think it’s important to say that consumerism is not going to save the world either. I am not saying that I have stopped shopping at all, and neither do you. I think what matters is how and why we shop. It’s about perceiving values rather than solely about possessions.