Consumeless for a year

A journal of a year of consuming less and consuming sustainably

Our rules 19/12/2009

On this page we will list the rules that we have formulated for ourselves. These rules are our guide to consume less and to consume sustainably. We have decided to make these rules, because without them we will probably be tempted a lot to ‘make an exception’ย  whenever we don’t feel like consuming less or consuming sustainably. The set of rules will be a living document, because we will probably encounter lots of situations and decisions that we can’t forsee at the start.

One of the reasons we keep this blog is to discuss our dilemmas and decisions. So if you feel there are rules or categories we haven’t considered, feel free to share this with us!

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The general rules:

  1. We only buy things that we really need.
  2. If something is broken we try to repair it. First of all we try to repair it ourselves. If we canโ€™t repair it, we go to a professional.
  3. If we need something, we try to make it ourselves or to buy the most sustainable product.
    Sustainable includes: 2nd hand, organic, ecological, fair trade, local, fresh, recycled, recycleable, repairable, reuseable, animal friendly, with no or little (recycleable) packaging, long expected durability, energy efficient.
  4. If we really need something we wait at least a week before we buy it (except for stuff we need immediately). After we have made a choice for the best option regarding sustainability, we do research to find the cheapest place to buy it.

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We set up specific rules for the following categories (and might even add more categories):

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6 Responses to “Our rules”

  1. Pieter Says:

    Hey Karin,
    First, congratulations with this experiment – I think it’s one of those New Year’s resolutions many of us have made before, but failed to put into practice (consistently). I’m very curious about your experiences… I’m actually thinking about a similar kind of experiment, but concentrated on food and eating. (I’m currently reading ‘Eating Animals’ by J.S. Foer, and got me thinking…)
    However, back to the rules: I wonder why you added the forth rule general rule. Don’t you think it will always conflict with the third rule?

    • Karin Says:

      Hey Pieter!

      You should also read ‘In Defence of Food‘ by Michael Pollan then! His advice is: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”. Intersting read!

      I have to say that I’ve added the fourth rule later, especially for the waiting for a week part, in order to prevent ourselves from impulsive purchases. The idea was to make a choice for a product first (based on the first three rules) and then to do the research to find the cheapest option. So in that sense I don’t think it necessarily is in conflict with the third rule (it is the fourth rule on purpose, the first three are more important and when buying).

      But maybe you’re right. Above all, the main idea is not to save money, so I’ll change it to “If we really need something we wait at least a week before we buy it (except for stuff we need immediately). After we have made a choice for the best option regarding sustainability, we do research to find the cheapest place to buy it.”. What to you think about this?

      Thanks for thinking along!!

  2. Pascal Says:

    What a brave initiative! It’s especially brave to share this on the web. Now there’s no way out… (although you could delete your blog and add messages like “under construction” or “technical problem, contact your internet provider.” That will make people lose their attention… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Anyway, I’m glad to see that I already live by at least some of your rules. For example, I’m a fanatic waste separator myself (although Anne probably sees this as a neurotic trait). I also tend to drive in the highest possible gear (unlike Anne). And yes, the number of energy saving light bulbs in our house is increasing!

    However, having a 3-month-old baby, makes sustainable living just a little less easy. Do you know of any biodegradable diapers? I’m sure they must be out there… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck with your challenge and have fun!

    Pascal

  3. Pascal Says:

    Thanks for the tips, by the way!


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