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Home Economy The Power of Buying Exactly What You Need

The Power of Buying Exactly What You Need

Published on August 19 2019

You have an incredible amount of power. In every choice you make, you create an impact, however small.

Over time, those choices and their impacts change the world around you. Just take a look at these pictures of things and environments being worn down by time. Tiny actions, repeated again and again, resulting in significant change.

When you choose to change your daily habits, you are making a powerful choice. You are choosing to be intentional in your impact on the world.

One of the most common arguments against reducing food waste is, “What difference will one change make?”

The answer is… probably none. One week of meal planning or one lunch of leftovers will have practically no impact on the massive problem of food waste. But that same choice made over and over again absolutely will have an impact.

A dollar set aside each day is just a dollar. But over time, it can become thousands.

Buying only what you need is a practical way of reducing food waste in your home. Meal plan. Make grocery lists. Stick to those lists. Avoid bulk buying unless you know you will use the entire amount. Shop smart. The change will be small day to day. But year to year, the change can be significant. It can be powerful.

Hundreds of kilograms of waste prevented

In North America, each person produces approximately 95-115 kg of food waste every year.

Let’s say you’re on the lower end of that scale and, through your shopping behaviours, you’re able to reduce your food waste by 50%.

Over just 10 years, that’s 475 kg of waste that won’t end up in landfills producing harmful methane gas.

Your habits influence others

Your food waste habits can influence others

Our buying habits are influenced by many factors. One powerful factor is the buying habits of those around us.

When you change your habits for the better, it encourages and empowers others to make similar choices.

If you can influence just two people to change their buying habits and reduce their waste by 50%, that’s another 950 kg of waste saved from the trash. Added to yours, that’s a waste reduction of 1,425 kg over just 10 years.

Buying habits affect store practices

Let’s say you influence two people, each of them influences two others, and so on. Eventually, the buying habits of community change. People are no longer enticed by “buy 1, get 2 free” offers on the food they won’t use up. They make lists and stick to them. They start demanding reasonable portions (at reasonable prices). They start demanding changes in how food waste is handled, overall.

Grocery stores are businesses. Like all businesses, they have to change with consumer trends to succeed. If bulk-buying sales are no longer effective, they will not stop offering sales, they will simply start offering different kinds of sales. Sales that don’t push people to buy more than they need. Sales and campaigns that follow the trends and encourage people to menu plan around that week’s offers.

When that happens, even more, people begin to change their buying habits, getting closer to buying only what they need.

As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers. The number needed to make real change in the world starts with 1. You.

Be the one. Be the FoodHero. Commit to buying only what you need and make it a habit. Even the tiniest drops of water will eventually fill any bucket, as long as you are committed and persistent.

In his eye-opening Ted Talk, Why do societies collapse, anthropologist, geologist, biologist and ecologist Jared Diamond said, “Since we made the problems, we can also solve the problems.” We did this. We have the power to stop it.


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