Earth Day 2015

by Katy on April 22, 2015 · 22 comments

If you’re looking for something you can do to support a healthy planet, may I suggest this one thing:

Stop buying poorly made and unnecessary stuff!

Overproduction of single use and unfixable consumer goods are causing heart breaking environmental harm to our planet.

  • Fix instead of replace.
  • Resist new electronic gadgetry. Make do with the functional things you already own.
  • Buy used instead of new. Older goods are often better quality that new. (I’m looking at you, Ikea – Lord of the Particle Board!) Plus, it’s already in your community and doesn’t need to shipped across the country.
  • Share and borrow life’s infrequently used household items.
  • Turn a blind eye to flashy trends that exist solely to make us unhappy with what we already own.
  • Appreciate the abundance of what you already own, and remember that you likely possess much more than many others on this planet.
  • Consider joining the buy-nothing-new Compact, which I’ve been part of since 2007.

And unless you’re an alien life form with a reliable space ship, every day you spend on this planet is Earth Day.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsey April 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Katy, I agree with your take in furniture. I have 2 bedroom sets that have been in the family for years (100 for one, 60 for the other) with no particle board. A friend just bought a new, relatively cheap set of bedroom furniture, and it has such a terrible smell that she cannot sleep at night. It’s probably the glue holding the particles of whatever together.
My neighbors and I swap stuff, food, or help all the time.
I have one room in my home that is completely empty. Does this bother me? Not in the least.
I am, however, guilty of the flashy-let’s-buy-it syndrome. I finally sat down and figured out what colors I love and which I am tired of. I gave most of my red stuff to the church rummage, a lot of clothes in certain shades to the battered women’s shelter, and a lot of stuff I gave to friends who wanted it.
I will stop to think next time I want to buy. It helps that I leave my visa and store credit card at home and pay cash.
Great article, and thanks for the reminders.


Diane April 22, 2015 at 1:25 pm

I am an IKEA consumer. I have several pieces of furniture that have been with me now for almost 10 years. Very functional and attractive besides being so reasonably priced. I also have some non IKEA all wood pieces bought second hand. A real eclectic mix that suits me.


Laura April 23, 2015 at 2:49 am

Yes, I have Ikea stuff too and I look after it and it’s lasting well. The real problem lies in the” buy it, trash it, buy some more” culture.


Virginia Bruce April 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm

Boy, you nailed it this time! I complained on my Facebook feed about a couple of emails I got telling me I should buy stuff to celebrate Earth Day.


marieann April 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Thank you. A wonderful post.
I wish everyone in the world…OK the western world lived this way.
Keep up the good work


Vickie April 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm

I feel the same way.
My favorite places to buy things are my local Goodwill/Thrift stores and a local pawn shop, for electronics. If I’m patient, I can find what I need at one or the other.
One thing that truly bothers me is all the stuff offered by charities for donations. I was at the pharmacy yesterday and they are offering red rubber noses for donations to something called Red Nose Day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fun, but I wondered – how many of those will just end up in the landfill?
I’d prefer to just donate the money and forget the junk. I like being able to donate at the register at Petsmart. When I give blood I can defer the customary t-shirt to the Global Blood Fund. I prefer giving to charities that don’t add to the trash problem. The easier they make it for me to just donate, the more willing I am to help out.


Chris April 22, 2015 at 5:26 pm

One of my favorite knock-knock-pudding-head versions of living simpler – my co-worker was so proud that her new sneakers had soles made of old tires. But when I asked her if she needed new shoes, she said . . . . “well, eventually”. Buying green is only important if you actually need an item – just saying. . . .


Katy April 23, 2015 at 9:50 am

Good point!


Marilyn April 22, 2015 at 6:02 pm

“Resist the new electronic gadgetry “. Reminding myself of this one thing has been a real money saver for years. My other very simple money-saving rule is: Resist the impulse to keep up with the neighbors.


Elise April 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm

I want to print ” And unless you’re an alien life form with a reliable space ship, every day you spend on this planet is Earth Day.” on a t-shirt! ha! such a good point!

We also try to not buy one time use products. It not only helps reduce our waste but also saves money 🙂


Katy April 23, 2015 at 9:50 am

Make sure to print it on a used T-shirt! 😉


Joy May 18, 2015 at 11:33 pm

Hey, I have some iron-on letters that came to me free inside of a basket I bought at a yard sale! We can use those to make the T-shirt and save the ink! lol


Susan April 22, 2015 at 6:37 pm

I’m watching Just Eat It, a documentary about food waste on MSNBC. I had no idea the retail industry was responsible for so much waste at the farm level. Retail stores only want perfect produce because “we” (consumers) don’t want any blemishes on our food. So much shocking information.
The show follows a couple who agree to only eat food waste for six months, buying culled food from the grocery, dumpster diving, getting donations from friends and family. Very thought provoking even for those of us who try hard not to waste food.
I recommend it because there is so much more to the waste than not eating our leftovers.


Katy April 23, 2015 at 9:51 am

I got mixed up about what time that started, so I missed the first 17 minutes, although I did catch the whole panel talk that followed.


Stephanie April 22, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Such an inspiring post. After I read about ‘resisting new gadgetry’ I rang my mobile provider as my plan has just ended. I really like my current phone so I am now on a ‘bring your own mobile’ plan, which is a lot cheaper. No point getting and paying for something new just for the sake of it.


Jill April 23, 2015 at 6:51 am

Amen, sister! Especially about the furniture!

When my husband and I got married, my parents gave up their old living room set. It was (and is) super beat up. My husband didn’t care for it, but I insisted that it was better quality that anything we could afford so we should keep it. (It’s circa 1967 Ethan Allen, solid wood, baby!). A couple of years ago, we bought a new love seat and just the other day my husband remarked that it is already getting saggy and droopy, that it is nowhere near as well made as our “vinatage” Ethan Allen. Then he, “You know? We should get all those pieces refinished. They would be so pretty redone.” It took 12 years, but I knew he would come around! 🙂


Jane F April 23, 2015 at 9:43 am

Happy story!

I love this earth day post! Reading Katy’s blog has really helped me articulate my approach to environmentalism. Thanks Katy!


Katy April 23, 2015 at 9:52 am

Might be pretty painted.


Kim April 23, 2015 at 6:56 am

I would also add share what you need or are looking for with others. Several years ago I was talking with a friend and mentioned that we were going to need to buy a fridge because ours was getting progressively warmer and was in danger of causing our food to spoil or be unsafe to eat. She asked what I was looking for and I said nothing fancy, just a plain full sized fridge. An hour later she called me and said she had a fridge for me. They were going to be moving and they had a fridge in their basement that they had bought new when they moved in. It had only ever been used to store drinks and snacks in and they had no plans to move it 2/3 of the way across the country and said it was ours if we would like it. I still have it and it continues to work like a charm.

A young family in our church recently moved into their first single family home and asked for some advice of plants for a shady hilly area in their front yard. Now that my hostas are all coming up and need to be separated, I asked if they would like some. They were thrilled- free plants and no plastic pots from the nursery!


Katy April 23, 2015 at 9:53 am

Way to pass it on!


JD April 23, 2015 at 8:42 am

The temptation to buy is all around us! I once read a magazine that featured an article on how to re-decorate a room with what one has, and how easily it could be done. So frugal and non-consumerist, right? Only, the second room sure looked different! It turned out, they finally admitted at the end of the article that they had added about $300 worth of plants to the room to “freshen it up”. That cancelled the frugal and non-consumerism right out of that article, and I don’t read that magazine anymore. We help ourselves and others when we make ourselves aware of the traps and snares of consumerism.
Thanks for the refresher course, Katy!


Marcia April 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm

I have been married 53 years and during that entire time we have not bought bedroom furniture for ourselves. We used an old set from my parents until it fell apart, and then used and continue to use, a set from my in-laws. We had another old set from my in-laws house refinished at a sheltered workshop (for $400 or so) and it’s better than like new. As far as I can remember, we have bought exactly two single beds and one single bed with 2 small dressers while raising two kids, caring for my elderly mother before she passed, and entertaining guests. My 23 year old granddaughter has been using the same second hand chest of drawers since she was a toddler–it’s been painted two or three times since then. While we haven’t always been able to find what we liked or wanted used, we have always tried to get the best and most useful value for the money we have spent. Despite this, our house is full of STUFF!! I have been retired for 12 years and have been de-cluttering the whole time and I’m not FINISHED yet. How do I get people to stop giving me gifts I don’t want or need? I already tell them point blank that I NEED nothing, and WANT very few things. Constantly filling another bag or box for the Goodwill, or giving stuff away when possible.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: