As you might have seen in my 2020 goals post the other day, this year I’m aiming to buy nothing new for a whole year. I’m sick of seeing the impact our choices have on the planet. I’ve cut down on waste and I’ve gone vegan and I’m doing fairly well when it comes to working on my footprint. As ever though, I want to try and push it one step further.
Why have a Buy Nothing New Year?
A buy nothing new year will challenge you to look at the impact of your spending habits, value experiences over things and will probably even save you money.
The impacts of fast fashion are well known, from offcuts to microplastics and eventoxic dyes. But the environmental impacts of our shopping habits go far beyond fashion. Small electrical appliances such as kettles are so cheap that people often just throw away and buy new, rather than repair it. You are supposed to recycle small electrical items – but it often doesn’t happen.
Since I started my zero waste journey, I’ve found that almost anything you’d buy new can be bought second hand if you look in the right places. This is the main reason for taking this challenge – I want to see just how far I can push it.
I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible – so here are the few rules I’m going to live by over the next year.
- Nothing I buy (except for a few reasonable exceptions – see below) can be brand new.
- I must exhaust all other options before buying something new.
- I can’t rely on friends and family to buy new things for me – that’s cheating!
- I won’t compromise on our safety or wellbeing. Which should go without saying, but there’s always one!
- We must still have a decent life – buying nothing new for a year won’t work if by the end of it, we’re dying to get straight to the shops. We’re still going to go to celebrate special occasions with friends and family, go to festivals, and have fun.
- Anything which the children genuinely need urgently. Think new coat/shoes/clothes.
- Underwear. For obvious reasons.
- Groceries and toiletries, again for obvious reasons.
I can’t think of anything else that should be excluded right now – but if you think of something I’ve missed, let me know in the comments!
Being a single mum of three lovely kids who are definitely in the throes of consumerism. It’s not as strong as in other kids their ages, but they’re often asking for new things. Not only that, but because there’s only one of me, there’s generally a shortage of time!
Birthdays/Christmas/other events. I admit that I didn’t fully think those through before setting myself this challenge. This should be interesting!
Decorating. Pretty much my whole house is in need of a lift, having never decorated it in the several years I’ve been living here. Now I don’t think for one second I could do the whole house without buying anything new at all, but I wonder how far I’ll get while sticking rigidly to buying nothing new. After all, this is cosmetic – not a need.
The last consideration for me (at least for now, I’m sure I’ll think of more) is that as a green influencer, I get sent items to review by brands. On one hand, they’re new items and so not compatible with the challenge. On the other, they’re not bought, and reviewing them helps the people who see the posts. I think that the best thing to do is continue as I am – not pitching brands to work with but accepting work that comes along. I’ll still aim to review things I need when given a choice of items, and if I have items I don’t need, then finding another home for them after I’ve reviewed them so they’re put to good use.
So, there it is. Am I mad? Probably. Will I fail? I don’t think so. Even if there are weak moments, I don’t anticipate anything other than minor blips. That said, it’ll all be documented here in a monthly blog post – so you can see where I’ve succeeded and where I’ve failed.
*gulp* Wish me luck!