The message behind International ‘Use Less Stuff Day’

Welcome to Use Less Stuff Day

Treasure your experiences, not your possessions. Wise words, but words which unfortunately usually fall on deaf ears.

It’s a fact, humans, like magpies, covet things. We accumulate more and more stuff that we probably don’t want or need. Gadgets, toys, clutter, knick-knacks, electronic whatnots, time-saving do-das, light-up thingamajigs, the list is endless. Our demand for stuff is seemingly insatiable.

From that growing pile of stuff, most of it ends up being discarded, gathering dust in attics, garages, or wardrobes. And sadly – for the planet – even more of it ends up as landfill.

Thankfully, Thursday, November 21st is International Use Less Stuff Day, a day that attempts to nudge us gently into the notion of halting the hoarding for once and for all.

Use Less Less Stuff Day also encourages us to put our hoarding habits under the microscope and gives us useful pointers on how to kick the mindset for good.

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Why do we need a designated day?

The impetus behind the creation of a designated day was as part and parcel of a campaign to help protect the environment, and ultimately ourselves.

Buy, buy, buy, upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, seems to be the battle cry of the modern world. Unfortunately, the war we are waging is against ourselves. Regardless of whether humanity pushes the self-destruct button on itself or not, the earth will keep on turning, with or without us.

Let this sink in.

Our oceans are being choked to death with plastics, up to 8 million metric tons every year, that’s approximately one dump truck every minute of every day.

Humanity’s continuous desire to possess more and more is the hand that feeds this monster. 

But all is not lost. 

It just might be that some of us are finally waking up to the idea that things must change in order to save ourselves from destruction. One of those things is the consumption of stuff we don’t need. That’s where Use Less Stuff Day comes in.

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Examine what you buy – good, or bad?

Use Less Stuff Day asks us to look minutely at our consumption patterns and then to change them. 

Common sense changes like: 

  • Stop using water from plastic bottles
  • Bring your own coffee cup instead of using a disposable one
  • Don’t use products which contain plastic micro-beads
  • Avoid palm products
  • Use a cotton shopping bag
  • Don’t buy pre-packaged fruit and vegetables. 

This list is as long as you want it to be. By taking a little longer before purchasing a product, gadget, gift, or anything else for that matter, ask yourself some serious questions about the product’s origin, the materials it’s made from, and its end of life destination. Let’s call it a Time Out for The Planet.

Even by examining our purchases a little closer there’s a good chance we can lower the rates of consuming stuff we really don’t need. Those few moments you take will help you to use less stuff and have a positive impact on the environment.

And the results might look something like this:

  • Less landfill and less toxic incineration fumes
  • Saving natural resources like water, wood, minerals
  • Less fuel is used to transport materials
  • Less harmful emissions are created from manufacturing
  • Less new raw materials need to be created, produced, harvested, or mined
  • Carbon footprints are offset
  • Reduction in micro-beads, one of the most harmful ocean pollutants
Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Don’t let your good intentions kill the planet

When November 21st swings around, try to remember that’s it’s Use Less Stuff Day. Whether you think the idea is complete nonsense or not, at least try to be a little more aware of the choices you make when it comes to buying more stuff.

Gift-giving accounts for an awful lot of the stuff that we create unnecessarily. Birthdays, anniversaries, along with Christmas and other religious festivals are the biggest culprits – well, actually, we are, not the occasion itself. 

Thankfully, there is a growing movement towards gifting experiences rather than stuff, and a growing number of companies offering such choices.

One such company is Tinggly, a company which not only offers over 2,000 incredible experiences and adventures around the world, it also acts in a highly responsible manner when it comes to the environment. Tinggly offsets the CO2 footprint of every experience gift by 200%. It promises to remove 33lbs – 15kg, or approx 660 plastic bottles – for every experience redeemed. Plus, it has recently installed plastic trash traps in the rivers of Bali.

Let’s hope that more and more businesses and corporations follow the same lead, and become sustainable in their consumption of stuff.

And it’s not just companies and corporations, it’s you, and your neighbor, and the guy in the coffee shop, and everyone else. We all have to start somewhere, let that somewhere be the decisions we make when we think of buying more stuff – stuff we probably don’t need.

Happy Use Less Stuff Day!