Our buying habits are not only hurting the environment they hurt our hip pocket

(Money and Life)

The old saying “penny wise, pound foolish” couldn’t ring truer than in today’s throw-away world of overconsumption and excessive production of disposable items.

Did you know that many manufacturers have been using techniques to deliberately reduce the life of a product to increase its replacement rate and sell you the same thing again? It’s called planned obsolescence.

Some products are not built to last. Others are specifically designed to make them hard to repair. And some just go out of fashion. Apple, for example, has been accused of using proprietary five-point security screws in some iPhones, making them harder to repair which may have encouraged some customers to upgrade their gadgets sooner than necessary. And, the tech giant has admitted that it artificially slows down iPhones with older batteries.

Then there’s the clothing industry. The whole idea is that we keep buying new items to keep up with the latest trends. But fashion changes quickly and last year’s hot look may suddenly look dated. Clothes can also be poorly made which means they might not last long.

According to the ABC, each Australian buys an average of 27kg of new clothing and textiles every year. Yet, research found that three-quarters of them had thrown clothes away over the past year and nearly a quarter had thrown away an item after wearing it once.

Worryingly, around 85 per cent of these items end up in landfill. And clothing made from polyester, for example, can take up to 200 years to break down.

Harmful to the earth and your hip pocket

Our buying habits, however, are not only hurting the environment, they are also an example of a poor use of our hard-earned cash. It’s like pouring money down the drain or into the garbage bin.

Things are changing though. In August 2015, France became the first country in the world to define and outlaw the practice of planned obsolescence. And thanks to websites like buymeonce.com,and books such as Tara Button’s books A Life Less Throwaway and Australian Clare Press’s Wardrobe Crisis, many consumers are changing their attitudes to spending.

By making smart buying decisions now, they are finding that they are saving money for more important things in the future, like a home or retirement, and are helping the planet at the same time. As another wise saying goes, “waste not, want not”.

Here are some of the ways you can do the same:

Buy quality

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