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How to Become a Conscious Consumer

By Fredrica Syren:

Have you ever asked yourself how some products we buy can be so cheap?

Over time I began to question how on earth a store can make a profit on a super cheap item while getting the materials, shipping the materials to a factory, and maybe even having the item made in another country then shipped to the U.S. Let’s face it — no business will stay in business without making a profit, and cheap things comes with a price. In a world where consumers want more for less money, it’s no wonder businesses and producers feel that the way to make more money is by taking shortcuts.

I have already talked about the price of cheap foodand the price of fast fashion. Now let’s focus on anything else we buy. 

How do we become a conscious consumer?

Do your research—Always do the research — look into companies and manufacturers to learn about the raw materials they use, their business practices, whether theyare a small company or a factory, etc. Some companies are committed to practicing more sustainability and using recycled materials, or accepting old items for recycling, or supporting a cause they work for. 

Choose quality over quantity—Cheap products mean cheap labor, cheap materials and things that might break sooner. Choose quality and fewer items. Take Vivienne Westwood’s advice and “Buy less, choose well, and make it last.”

Choose companies that give back—Some companies work to donate part of their proceeds or provide financial or educational support, or supply community support. 

Take care of things you buy—When we consume too much and have too much, it’s easy to treat things like disposables and thoughtlessly throw them away. I firmly believe that the fewer thingswe own, the bettercare we take of them. 

Choose locally produced things—Look for brands and businesses that are local, sustainable and high quality. Why should we look to buy locally produced things? Just as fast and cheap foods come from factory farms where the animals are treated badly, cheap products usually are manufactured overseas in sweatshops and factories with unfair working conditions.So, not only does locally manufactured clothing in general assure a better work environment, but it also reduces our carbon footprint caused by fossil fuels that are used, for example, in textile and garment production, and its transportation.By educating yourself, you will learn that the cheapest price is not necessarily the fair one. 

The fact is that everything penny we spend signals the practices we’re willing or not willing to accept from companies and manufacturers. If we opt for more but cheaper goods, we also are saying that we’re ok that the manufacturer takes advantage of workers or uses questionable materials that might have a negative effect on the planet. 

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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