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Are Reusable Bags Really Better?

In this age of Instacart shopping, Amazon Prime and Grubhub delivery, this century is already being marked by a new revolution, by a new generation. Social media has taken over and social distancing is exacerbating isolation. 

If 2020 didn't affect your daily life, then you are living under a rock. Upended by staying home has really made me rethink so many things and what I truly need in life. The safety and security of family and friends has made me reach out more often and I'm so happy about that. Rekindling relationships near and far has enriched my WFH life!

 Be honest, what have you spent time thinking about over the past year that never would have entered your mind but for this extended time at home? I mean REALLY thought about. How crazy long your commute is? How much fast food you were consuming on the road? How good you feel after a haircut? What? Tell me. What is it? 

Or maybe you've finally decided to go through the garage, the basement, the closets and culled down all the random stuff you shoved in there thinking you 'may' need it some day? It's amazing how much of a stockpiling culture we have in America. The runs to Costco because I need to store 10 lbs. of cereal so I don't have to go to Costco again for a few weeks! Who do I think I am? Am I a freakin' restaurant? Why do I need 10 lbs of tomato sauce? Or lettuce. Or butter. Why are we consuming, or not consuming massive proportions of food? What does that tell you about how food is preserved so that it lasts for months in our pantries? If the shelf life on food is longer than a season, it may not be great for your insides either. 

Do you have a storage location? You know, a place to pay lots of money to store things that you may, or may not need in the future? Perhaps your home or apartment is not large enough to store items that you feel you need. Is it worth it to forget about it until the monthly invoice comes in and then rationalize why you need to store it in the first place? 

Our culture seems to encourage hoarding, stocking up and consuming many many things. In reality we are not actually saving any money, time or effort by doing any of this. In fact, we most likely waste any money we think we're saving because food will get stale or our kids have decided that they don't like that cereal anymore and want something different. They're bored of the SAME cereal that we had to buy in bulk in order to save a few pennies. 

My mind will rationalize why I need to save something. It's quite a skill I've acquired actually! Maybe I should have gone to law school because I can argue any side of an argument when I think I can save a dollar.

That changed though when we moved to Johannesburg. In South Africa the food is fresh, which means that it won't last long in the fridge. You buy it and eat it. And then you can buy some more if you want. Yes, it means going to the store a bit more often. But it also means it won't get stale or go bad. It means your freezer won't have packages that have been in there since the last century. How many times have I thrown out freezer-burned meat - cha-ching! More money down the drain.

When it comes to saving money we can also think about saving the environment. Saving the planet. Reducing the effects of climate change. What if we paid a fair price for something that we could use, reuse and recycle. Would that make you think twice about needing more and more and more of everything? 

One thing I have learned over the last year has been what I actually need to live day-in and day-out. And it's not obsequious amounts of preserved foods. We don't actually eat as much as we think we eat. Fresh fruits and veggies will make you fuller longer. Getting vitamins from real food rather than supplements is healthier. Faster is not better. And more is not always more.

One way to help is by utilizing things that will last. Perhaps buying something that is more durable instead of fast fashion. Whether it's food, shelter, clothing or something else, think about what you are consuming, how you are consuming and why you are consuming before you make that purchase. It may be a bit of a challenge at first, but after doing so a few times you may be surprised about the decisions you make.  You may think about what will happen to that item after you're done with it. Where will it go? What will it become?

For me, one thing that I love about rethinking how I live is stoping the use of single-use plastic bags. Single use plastic bags, the kind you get at grocery stores or retail chains, are literally killing wildlife. When it leaves your counter top and goes into the trash, it lives on for decades and decades, eventually ending up in water ways, oceans or landfills. We can easily stop this by buying reusable shopping bags that can be washed when soiled. Easy-peasy! I bring my own strong, durable cloth bags that can fit lots of groceries and when necessary after a few uses I throw it in the washing machine and it's ready to be used again. I know where it's been, what's been inside it and it will last forever - but not in the ocean! 

You don't need to be a scientist, mathematician or CEO to feel in your gut what you are doing to the environment, to your body and to your community. Every purchase can be more thoughtful and appropriate to your needs.

As we look to the future, let's take care of ourselves, our communities and our planet for future generations. Let's get back to hugging, being together and enjoying each other's company - when it's safe to do so.

 

In humble gratitude,

Deana,

Founder, Bosisi Designs

 

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