I bloody love a library. When I worked in my local town, I used to go all the time in my lunch break. These days, by the time I find a moment to return the books I’ve borrowed, I’ve usually run up the equivalent of a small mortgage in fines. So I don’t go as often. Which is a shame. Because what is better than a whole ‘bookstore’ of random books that you don’t have to pay for?! Nothing. It’s epic.
It was as a result of a random library grab that I ended up reading “No Impact Man” by Colin Beavan. Changed my life. Bit dramatic, yes, but not wholly inaccurate. It’s just brilliant. (Link to the book is below.)
I confess to not being the most environmentally conscientious of persons in the past. Lights stayed on. Recycling was a pain and generally the eco warriors could hug as many trees as they liked but that wasn’t gonna keep stop me running my fossil fuelled central heating full blast the moment the temp dropped below 20 degrees Celsius. I like my crib warm, yo!
But this dude, Colin, looked around his central New York apartment with his wife and kid and decided to take their standard high consumer lifestyle and radically change it for one year to produce no waste. None. Not a scrap of waste or rubbish produced – that was the aim. And he documented the whole thing. It’s brilliant. And hilarious. And really inspirational. So much so that I after I returned it to the library, I actually bought it. On kindle. So no waste. And I’ve read it repeatedly since.
Although I do not aspire to live a completely waste free life – Colin’s experiment was a tad extreme – it does mean I now question the choices I make. It led to me deciding not to buy any more ‘new’ clothes. I have now, for several years, tried to buy my clothes only in charity and second hand shops. Therefore I don’t contribute to the constant cycle of production and waste. I wear what others have already discarded. There are some exceptions to this rule – underwear, socks etc. Or when I’ve desperately needed a really good fitting pair of jeans RIGHT NOW! But I would say that about 99% of time now, my clothes are second hand. And you know what? Best thing I’ve ever done. I have more fun shopping (coz you never know what you’re gonna find) and I have spent a ton less cash. It also means I get to shop a lot more because I know it’s not going to break the bank. I’ve started getting rather picky which means the quality of clothing I now buy is exponentially better than it otherwise would be.
Take yesterday – I picked up a Ted Baker top and dress from Oxfam. £13.98 they cost me. Together. £6.99 each. And I thought that was quite pricey compared to what I usually pay. But I decided to treat myself!
I get to wear Superdry , Jack Wills, Hollister, Joules and quite a lot of Hobbs stuff for work. If you’re in the market for something specific, eBay is a good bet. Although eBay tends to be pricier and you can’t try on obviously, so it’s a bit of a risk. I’ve had some disasters (black A-line skirt which gaped at the waist and hung unattractively around my ankles at the bottom as an example. Ugh) but mostly it’s pretty good. The only thing I’ve struggled to find is a good quality fitted black jacket for work. If it becomes urgent I will buy it new, but I’m loathe to do that coz I know I will find the right one eventually. I always do.
So thank you No Impact Man. There’s so much else in the book that I would like to implement but this one small change is brilliant. And I get to feel genuinely smug when I see how much my sister spends on clothes. Because I’m nice like that!