How many times do you use your stuff?

It’s an important question to ask yourself, really, how many times do you generally use your stuff? All your things. Clothes, kitchen utensils, electronics and so on. Do you use your shoes 365 times, 1000 times or maybe only 30 times? This is something I have thought about writing for a long time, because it is a very good example of how an individuals actions are connected to larger environmental problems.

Garbage, landfill, waste. It exists because at some point we usually feel we can’t use our stuff anymore. Garbage is ugly, it’s a health hazard for humans if dealt with in an improper way. But most of all, it harms animals. Look at the picture. It is taken by my fiend here in Helsinki, when she was on her way home a couple of days ago.

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The poor hedgehog would have died if my friend did not save it, because of a beer package that was meant to be used only one time. What if the person with the beer would have just carried the beer in his bag, and not in a plastic package? He or she sure would not have left a purse or a backpack there, it would have been taken home and used several times. The reason he or she left the plastic package there was that it did not have any value to him/her anymore. It was meant to be used only once, and that’s a problem. Putting it in the trashcan would not have benefited the beer drinker in anyway, it would just have been nice for someone else. Especially for this hedgehog. The combination of disposable stuff and selfish people can be deadly, literally. I hope people would become less selfish, even when drunk. But especially after drinking beer most people don’t consider the consequences of what they do. That’s why I think stores should stop selling disposable things, and before that happens consumers should stop buying it.

Garbage also contributes to climate change. Actually it does so in several ways. Firstly, the garbage itself emits methane, a greenhouse gas, when it starts to rot. Secondly, the transportation of garbage uses a lot of fuel resulting in CO2. But most of all, the energy and the raw materials used to make the things go to waste.

Take clothes, that break after a year in use, as an example. All the fresh water used to grow cotton, all the pesticides used at the plantation, all the energy to transport first cotton, then fabrics and then clothes, all the time of the people sewing. It all goes to waste, just after one year. Imagine how much we could save with better quality clothes that last for ten years!

So really, if you have a wish to care more about the environment: a good way to start is by asking yourself: how many times do I use my stuff? Is there anything i could use more times than I am right now? Or if you really don’t want something anymore, is there anyone else who could want it? But remember, that if you want there to be any use to your old stuff, there needs to be someone who wants it. By buying second-hand, you also contribute to stuff being used several times. If not second-hand, buy quality stuff.

My goal is to have as few things as possible that I use only once. Take this paper bag as an example. Why would it need to be used only once? I used it five times before I discarded it for hygiene reasons. I bought Karelian pastries in it a few times, and then I bought cashew-nuts in it. Lastly, I used it when I bought potatoes.

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Interested in the consequences of trash? I recommend watching this documentary! I am watching it right now for an assignment at uni, but I could have watched it just out of interest.

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