Why Quality Is Important For Sustainability
When I moved into my very first apartment in Boston with my husband we were living in 400 square feet and it didn’t take long for me to realize the value behind the statement “quality over quantity”. If I am being honest I loved that apartment and small space living, and as we started to move into slightly larger spaces I began to realize just how many amazing skills I learned when I was forced to assess each and everyone of my belongings for their worth and quality.
When your kitchen is 80 square feet you learn pretty fast how few items you really need and use, and maximizing each of those items for quality and efficiency becomes so much more important. I wouldn’t trade living in that 400 square foot apartment for anything, because not only did it make for great memories, it also awakened my ability to make decisions based on quality over quantity — both in my purchases and my life.
Over the past year the sustainability movement has become much more mainstream, with movements like the “no straw campaign” gaining world momentum, and more consumers and corporations taking notice of the immediate change needed for our world to remain the beautiful home we know it to be.
The recent climate change report by the United Nations has opened the world’s eyes wide open (if they weren’t already) about the realities we are facing in regards to the health of our planet if we don’t implement drastic change starting now (well ideally many years ago but now will have to do).
But every day the topic of sustainability also starts to feel more complicated. Individuals want to feel that their choices are making a difference, and they are, but the process of determining what the best choice is to make can be entirely overwhelming.
This is something called “decision fatigue”, which occurs when people are expected to make decision after decision all day long to the point where even the smallest choice seems overwhelming.
This is especially true for the person who already feels stressed by long-work hours and caring for his/her family while also making good personal health choices. Then trying to think about reducing plastic, eating local and organic, purchasing ethical clothing, switching to safe cleaning products, the list goes on and on is a lot for the average person to comprehend let alone implement.
This “decision fatigue” especially within the sustainability community is something that I think is really keeping us from focusing on the systems, behaviors, and companies that are really to blame for our current environmental issues.
I do not believe that this mental burden should fall on individuals when only 100 corporations are responsible for the majority of our carbon emissions. Corrupt corporations are the real problem, and they have cornered consumers in a system that makes avoiding negative impacts on both our health and the environment incredibly difficult.
This is why I believe that it is so important for individuals to simplify the way they approach creating a sustainable lifestyle, and focus on quality over quantity — both in terms of products and lifestyle changes.
Why Quality Is Important For Sustainability
When it comes to creating sustainable lifestyle change focusing your attention on quality may be the most impactful and change provoking thing you can do. While our grandparents grew up in an era that celebrated and supported quality in food, fashion, home goods, etc. we on the other hand have literally been programmed to expect things to break, and so they do.
We anticipate and accept a lack of quality because we have been warped into believing that saving on cost in the moment means that we are saving on cost in the long term. This couldn’t be further from the truth and our grandparents knew it.
We don’t have to look back that many generations to see just how much people used to value quality in their consumer products. It was the foundation behind absolutely every choice our grandparents made, and it may be the most important piece that is missing and affecting our consumer waste and excessive consumption issues on this planet today.
We Need Higher Standards
The moment we began to accept convenience over quality our issues with excessive waste and (one could argue) our health issues began to sky rocket. We need higher standards.
But while our grandparents may have been able to spot a quality garment, rug, or cooking pan a mile away, we haven’t been trained so well. So if quality is going to be the main attribute that we judge most of our consumer choices around how do we begin to know what to look for?
This is where companies like Buy Me Once come in and make the process of choosing products that are made to last so much easier. While there are countless brands and companies out there promoting “sustainable” products, the definition of what makes a product sustainable is not the same for everyone, and many sustainable products are still contributing significantly to our global waste and excessive consumption issues. This is what Buy Me Once wants to help consumers avoid by taking the guess work out of finding quality made items while also reducing the amount we all are consuming in general.
Our Behaviors Need To Change
When it comes to living sustainably our goal really shouldn’t be to continue with our current consumption behaviors and just make those choices sustainable. No, instead the goal should be to reduce and stop consuming things that we truly do not need or are not made to last entirely.
This is why quality is important and why I love that Buy Me Once has chosen to focus on sourcing and investigating the highest quality products and brands that were built with longevity as a top priority.
The products and brands that you find within the extensive Buy Me Once website are products (many of which have lifetime guarantees) that are worthy of being repaired, and are capable of becoming items that we ourselves pass down to our children and grandchildren. These are the “things” that we remember in life. That we hold on to, cherish, and are made with the intention of being worn and used for decades and even lifetimes.
Quality and accessibility
When you look around you home or in your closet do you say to yourself “I would really love more poor quality things to use a few times and then forget about?” — I doubt it. Yet this is exactly what we are saying when we make choices without thinking about quality, and this applies to life to.
Being around quality people make you want to be better, spending quality time doing things you love brings you joy, developing quality health habits makes you feel well. These are all examples of just how important our quality barometer really should be, and how out of touch we may be with it.
And while yes many quality products are going to be more expensive than their made to break alternatives, there also are so many ways that you can bring quality items into your life no matter what budget you may be on.
Secondhand clothing stores are full of well-made vintage pieces, and thrift stores and antique shops are overflowing with furniture, china, and glassware that most of the time you can score for a low price-tag and a lifetime of value.
So the next time you are looking around your home or closet think about what quality pieces you would like to bring into your life. Write them down, make a list, and practice patience. These items most likely aren’t going to be the kind you will find with next day shipping, but I promise they will be very worth the wait.
Disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador for Buy Me Once, however all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the incredible companies that help make The Well Essentials possible.