As you can come to expect from a personal trainer I have many goals for 2016 but this year I am doing something very different, something I am passionate about and hope to encourage you, my readers to do the same. This particular goal is to reduce my family’s level of excessive material consumption. Instead of constantly employing the theory of “just buy a new one”, we are on a mission to only buy or swap second hand goods wherever possible (we draw the line with underwear!) in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. It’s also our attempt to do our part to positively impact working conditions in third world countries.
Over the years I’ve read way too many stories on unethical sweatshops still in existence and in fact, sadly I've also recently seen media exposing child labour being used to continually offer the cheapest possible products to us here in the West.
So I've decided that this year I am going to do my part to try and help make a positive impact. This year rather than just heading to the local department store to quickly buy a T-Shirt for my daughter for $2.99, I have taken the time to stop and think about how it’s even possible to buy a T-Shirt that cheap? Surely someone is losing somewhere as it just doesn’t add up to me as to how anyone can be making an ethical profit on such a small monetary price… As it has been categorically found, there is in fact a loser and that loser is an innocent person or even child in a sweatshops somewhere still being used to supply our major retailers. I refuse to keep turning a blind eye to this injustice that is all in the price tag.
I will put my hand up right now and say that I have always just headed to the shopping centre to buy my daughter endless amounts of clothes and toys only to find she only wore things a couple of times as they never really lasted, or played with something once or twice but it never really bothered me as the item would only ever be a few dollars, so who cares right? Wrong - I care, we should all care. This isn’t only found in large department stores though, from fitness labels through to electric goods, the insistence of driving price down to stay competitive is not paving a great future for our kids. In fact, it is so bad that I honestly believe that goods are made with defects to ensure they don’t last so that we just continue to upgrade mindlessly. Have you ever noticed that your mobile phone seems to have issues within a few years? A mobile phone has precious natural resources in its make up that has taken our earth millions of years to produce that are just sitting rotting in landfills all over the world.
We need to change. We need to change now.
Below are some of the strategies my family is employing, at times it can be a little tricky but only because we have been used to instant gratification, now we are forced to be patient. Here’s what we are up to;
We plan our purchases. So if our daughter needs some ballet shoes for next month’s classes, we are hunting around on Ebay and Gumtree well in advance.
We are frequenting Op-shops. You might think it a little beneath you or something, but trust me there is plenty of gold available if you’re willing to take a chance. I've already this year put together two lovely gift hampers for baby showers filled with second hand gems!
Garage sales and markets a plenty
Recycle websites like www.freecycle.org
Recycling as much as possible including items such as mobile phones – there are a bunch of reputable recycling centres available, just check on the net where the closest one is to you.
Please help us guys, if we can all just make a small change, maybe we can reduce demand enough that the major retailers are forced to change. Yes that will mean higher prices, but it doesn’t pale in comparison to the toll of child labour and sweatshops.
Please comment and let me know if you are on board or if this is something you support.
Please share your second hand or recycling experiences on facebook or instagram and make sure to tag @sherunsfitness and #secondtimeround
I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and hearing of yours.