Alternative consumption

How can I make responsible consumer choices? How can I reduce my environmental footprint? How can I avoid producing waste? At present, there is no shortage of initiatives.

These innovative ideas that help us save money and the planet can inspire us to be creative and share more with others. And that also feels good!

Reinventing our consumer habits:

How?

  • By renting or borrowing instead of buying a new item (e.g. libraries, toy libraries, resource centres, etc.)
  • By repairing broken objects or clothing (e.g.: Repair cafés) or by giving them a new role (e.g.: upcycling)
  • By giving items to non-profit organisations;
  • By buying second-hand goods

Why?

  • To save money.
  • Because the environment and the preservation of nature are key concerns.
  • To recreate a connection (we exchange, we share, we help each other)
  • Learn to DIY, sew and repair!

We know that supply adapts to demand and that our consumer choices guide companies' manufacturing choices. As such, it becomes useful to opt for food without packaging, produced locally and with eco-friendly materials. This way, consumers can send a clear message about what they want (and don't want)!

 

Repair

A broken item is often thrown away instead of being repaired. Planned obsolescence pushes us to renew our objects ever faster: it leads to wasted money and resources.

Have you ever been to a Repair café? There are five in Brussels: www.repairtogether.be

These are friendly places where you learn to co-repair your broken objects:

  • Also, it's environmentally friendly: repaired items are not wasted.
  • This promotes social cohesion and the sharing of skills.
  • It's economical: reuse and repair costs less than buying back.

 

Borrowing

New purchases represent the largest part of our ecological footprint. Manufacturing, packaging, transporting and distributing a product requires a lot of resources. Does that make sense for an object that you only use a few times a year?

Here are several alternatives:

  • borrowing from you family, friends or neighbours
  • renting (USITOO, DIY store, etc.)
  • exchange/barter

Advantages:

  • saving resources for the planet
  • financial savings
  • space-saving (no need to find a place to store the item)

 Think about it before your next purchase!

 

BISOU method

Are you a compulsive shopper? The BISOU method can help you. The method has been taken from the book “J'arrête de surconsommer” written by Marie Duboin and Herveline Verbeken. It consists of asking yourself the following five questions before buying:

  • B = Besion (Need): what need does this purchase meet? (need for belonging, security, comfort, etc.). The goal is to become aware of why we buy it.
  • I = Immédiat (Immediate): do I need it right away?
  • S = Semblable (Similar): do I already have an object that could play the same role?
  • O = Origine (Origin): where does the product come from, am I at ease with its manufacturing conditions, are the materials used healthy?
  • U = Utilité (Utility): will this object really be of use to me on a daily basis?