Sustainable living in the age of informed consumerism

21st May 2013 Posted by

It’s not difficult to make the case to reduce, reuse and recycle waste – a point made by the Labour Party in the Resource Security* Policy Review, released on Friday 19 April 2013. It’s also not difficult to understand that recovering the maximum amount of energy from the waste left over is an obvious thing to do. However, neither point is well established enough to be left to prosper on its own merits.

Sustainable living starts with each of us, in our patterns of buying and consumption, in our discipline to recycle and reuse and in our understanding and acceptance of one world living. Education is essential to this process and we should all seek to continually improve our own, and our children’s, understanding of how important resource conservation is. We need to emphasise that minimisation starts with what we buy and help others understand how it is subsequently used and managed.

Fixing into the public conscious that waste, in whatever form it is delivered, is wrong and should be avoided must be the foundation stone of a sustainable society. Informed consumerism can have an impact on producers and it does influence them already. From Nestle removing plastic in their Easter egg packaging, to GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK) introducing schemes to recover and recycle their inhalers, industry is already reacting to the need for conservation of resources and waste reduction.

One world living is not a political concept of the ‘left’ or the ‘right’, nor is it a concept of class, where people are allowed to waste more because they are rich or poor. In our experience, industry is already acutely aware of resource security and cost, and many have or are acting in response. So, I hope the political parties can all agree on the fundamental principle of sustainable living and offer actions that will move us rapidly to a sustainable society.


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