What does it mean to be a conscious consumer?

  • conscious consumers who understand where the food comes from, how it was made, and where the rest of the waste will go and be handled

Any human being who partakes in society in some sense understands that consumerism or marketing is a deeply implemented concept that structures how modern civilization runs. From the clothes you buy, from the food, you eat, and from the buildings or transportation you use; they all have a price. Starting from when society chooses to no longer use barter systems but instead implemented currency to represent human services or value within societies. Fast forward to the 21st century, where you can buy anything you could possibly imagine. From an optimistic side the idea that today in the world you can buy almost anything to keep you safe, or to entertain yourself, to purchase things that can make daily life easier shows how much human technology has taken place over the centuries. Now unlike ever before life can be easier, but now it comes with a darker price. The things we consume, we do not always need. America is sadly a great example of how when humans consume, most of it is useless or becomes immense waste.

Let’s take a look at how an average very generic life in America as a Middle-wage citizen lives. According to National Coffee Drinking Trends 2010, National Coffee Association, the average American consumes about 3 cups of coffee per day (relatively 9oz per cup). How do you get your daily cup of coffee? Do you make it at home? Do you go to your local coffee shop or make coffee at work? The amount of coffee grounds, cups, or cup protector ends up being waste, now can they be recycled? Why yes, there are many types of ways in which all waste can be recycled or repurposed. However, looking at the big picture if you look at the fact that millions if not billions of people drink more than one cup of coffee today you can see that the amount of waste just from getting your normal cup of coffee, adds up in the long run. You know the little green plastic stick or otherwise known as the “splash stick,” imagine how many times those little guys ended up in the trash. Now imagine all of these splash sticks across the entire country of the United States, most likely all of these sticks will end up being thrown into the trash. Unless plastic is properly processed and recycled it was last in the environment for 450 years. That amount of time is longer than you or your children’s children will possibly be alive.

How is this important?

From this standpoint, general populations understand that the way that we use materials and things are meant to selfishly serve us and take little consideration of the world around us. There is no one to blame because we are all at fault for the humanity’s actions. It is time now that as constant consumers in this world, we must start looking at ways to reduce and sustainability live rather than living in a blanket of ignorance of our actions. Many people do not like looking at the world on how their actions affect the world. However, instead of blaming and being angry at people for not knowing better, it is time for all to learn better ways of living rather than blaming why things are so wrong.

Humanity as a whole must develop conscious consumers who understand where the food comes from, how it was made, and where the rest of the waste will go and be handled. If every individual especially people who live in first world countries begin to understand the ideas of their choices in their daily lives, the amount of unintentional waste could potentially be eliminated. A conscious consumer is important for our present environment and the quality of life for future generations.

Tips & Tricks on how to be a conscious consumer:

  • What are little” no’s” that a conscious consumer should implement in their daily life?
    • Strays
    • Takeout
    • Unnecessary plastic wrapping
    • Plastic bags
    • Tooth picks
    • Unnecessary toys
    • Clothes that are the same
    • Buying or eating too much food
    • Eating at places where they use disposable eating ware
  • What are the big “yes’s”?
    • Bring your reusable coffee containers or water bottles or food containers
    • Thrift!!
    • Compost foods
    • Buy what you need
    • Don’t gift food
    • Invest in companies that are seeking sustainability and fairtrade
    • Being aware of what foods are in season
    • Reflect on what creates the most waste for you or your family
  • Why is it important?
    • The impact we have on earth
    • Healthy environment for future generations
    • “Clean house= less stressful life” “dirty house = stressed life”
    • Responsibility as humans