How to become a more conscious consumer

Consumerism is a massive problem in the current digital age. We spend all day being exposed to advertisements, everywhere we look. On the back of toilet doors, on the tv and radio, cleverly integrated into our social media and they all encourage the same thing – spend, spend, spend! Becoming a more conscious consumer can mean different things to different people. It doesn’t necessarily mean spending less, it means making more informed decisions about the purchases you do make.

Consumerism only exists because there is demand. Without the demand for the products there wouldn’t be these badly produced, poor quality products taking over the mass market. We need to start being more conscious about the choices we make and think about the bigger picture. That £5 tee may look great now but in a month when its discoloured and lost its shape you’ll have to throw it away and re-purchase a replacement. If this happens every month over the course of a year, you would’ve been better off investing in a quality, well-made tee which may cost slightly more but will last season in and season out.

By just making small changes day by day we can all work towards becoming a more conscious consumer so today I wanted to share some small and easy ways we can all become more of a conscious consumer.

Educate yourself

Great, so you’ve decided to become a more conscious consumer but what exactly does that mean? There are many documentaries and resources available to educate yourself on the matter and open your eyes into consumerism and the affects this can have on the environment. The first step is deciding you want to make a change in the way you shop, the second step is being informed to make these better choices. Once you start swotting up, if you find anything you don’t agree with make sure you shout about it to those accountable.

Shop ethically

Refreshingly, more new companies are embracing social responsibility and building it into their core values. One of these –  Photowall* – recently launched in the UK.  When they got in contact with me and kindly offered me a chance to receive one of their wall murals or canvas prints I absolutely jumped at the chance to add a custom piece to my collection. Photowall are a Swedish company with a passion for design and quality. All of their wall murals and canvas prints are environmentally friendly, fire-retardant and do not fade in sunlight. They offer a wide selection of wallpaper murals and canvas prints – as well as offering custom prints of each using your own images. The canvas prints are made from 100% cotton, are fully biodegradable and can be ordered with or without their do-it-yourself frame. They have thousands of options from animals to landscapes to funky patterns and maps of the world – there is literally something for everyone no matter what your style. Every single print they feature is made to order so there are never any discarded products or excess wastage and all of their waste material is recycled. I think its fantastic to see a company striving to reduce the impact of their production processes on the planet and it’s a refreshing change from the thousands of mediocre companies popping up everyday.

The ordering process was very straightforward, I simply uploaded the image, chose whether I wanted a frame or not and which edge I would like the canvas to have. Then I simply chose the size and voila. I opted for a 60cm by 40cm size as I didn’t want something too big and was unsure how the image would come out in print. I placed my order late Thursday evening and this was despatched late Friday afternoon. Once the package arrives you simply peel the tape off the wooden pieces and stick onto the canvas, then using the corner brackets and screws which are supplied, you secure the frame, tighten the canvas and screw the product together. This was a bit fiddly and took two of us to hold the pieces in place, but for a 10 minute job I was shocked at the quality and sturdiness of the finished product.

The print itself is of  outstanding quality, I am so pleased with how the picture came out in print. Although the original photo was taken on a DSLR there can sometimes be a loss of resolution when printing images. You won’t find that with these canvases, the clarity is next level and quality of the print is out of this world. You can see just how bright and clear the image is, with every single detail highlighted in the image. This is much more of a premium canvas with a very reasonable price tag attached. Plus it’s clear from the quality of the materials and the finished product that this is going to last for years to come.

Shop cruelty free

With so many brands taking the pledge to become cruelty free now, it really is easier than ever before. You can find so much information online and there are some incredible bloggers who run cruelty free blogs that have all the information you could ever need like Logical Harmony and Cruelty Free Kitty. The key thing to remember is, as with anything in the mass market, without the demand the need for supply is going to be a lot less. My personal opinion is if these massive brands can afford to pay five figure endorsements to celebrities or bloggers for advertising campaigns then they can afford to invest in alternatives to animal testing. I am currently transitioning into cruelty free beauty by replacing one product at a time with a cruelty free alternative.

Shop local

If you start shopping from brands closer to home then ultimately you are reducing the need for products to be transported which helps reduce the impact on the environment. Although if you do need to shop further afield then with some quick research you can find companies who are focused on reducing their impact on the world. Photowall offer free UK delivery with every order with mine arriving within about 5 days which I was super impressed with. On their website they state all their products are only transported on full trailers reducing their carbon footprint. The canvas arrives rolled up with the easy to assemble frame included. I was very apprehensive about the idea of building the frame myself but sending products this way reduces the amount of packaging needed and eliminates the risk of damage during transit. Plus all the materials used are comprised of wholly or partially recycled material promoting a more sustainable way of living. Although this product was imported from Sweden, the company have such high ethical standards it is clear they are doing everything in their power to reduce their impact on the environment.

Upcycle/ DIY

I am a massive hoarder, in fact I pretty much have my entire wardrobe from my early twenties still packed up and hidden away. Instead of simply throwing away old clothes when I get bored of them, I keep them because I know down the line I can upcycle them or restyle them to make them fit in with current trends. During my early twenties I was a massive shopaholic and I’ve got so many items that I’ve barely worn and can’t bare to part with despite the fact that they no longer fit me or never did. With a bit of skill (thanks to my textiles GCSE) and a little creativity, I’ve created some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe.

If upcycling isn’t your thing then be sure to donate any unwanted clothes, shoes, bags etc. instead of simply putting them in the bin. When you`re dropping off your bag of donations make sure to stop for a quick look. Charity shops often have designer labels that you can snap up at a fraction of the price nowadays, you would be surprised what you can find. Flea markets and salvage yards are another great place to pick up second hand bits and pieces which with a little bit of TLC can be brought to life again. One of my favourite programmes is Salvage Hunters because some of the pieces they create with someone else’s rubbish is absolutely phenomenal.

It may seem like a daunting task but simply making one small change every month can have such a large impact. Investing in good quality, sustainable items will last a lot longer than slightly cheaper alternatives and small steps can start solving a big problem. If you want to order your own wall mural or canvas you can get 20% off with my discount code TanyaNoreenCampaign2018 valid until 15th April 2018.

*Gifted for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

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