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Consume Less: Part I

It's that time of year. We decorate, gather, give gifts and celebrate. Being a retail store, we're not opposed to any of that, because at Furnish, we support consuming with intention.


The more I think about landfill waste and the root cause of the waste problem, I always come back to one concept that I've decided to call intentional consumption. To me, this means consuming less things overall but also having some criteria in mind when you do buy something.


I'm no where near an expert on this concept but I've been practicing it myself for about 8 years. I would categorize most "things" into three buckets: 1) required consumption, 2) comfort consumption and 3) optional consumption. I'm going to split this series into three parts and share thoughts on each bucket per article.


First, required consumption. These are the most basic items almost everyone in the western world has in 2022. Food, clothing, a bed, household cleaners, personal care items like shampoo, etc. Here's what a low-waste lifestyle would recommend for some of these main categories:

  • Buy local foods - eggs, fruits, veggies, baked goods, you get the idea

  • Choose glass or cardboard containers over plastic, always and for everything

  • Shop second hand for clothing, home decor and housewares

  • Items with plastic-free packaging for cleaners and personal care items - this means switching to dish soap bars, shampoo and conditioner bars, laundry soap sheets, etc.

We realize there are a lot of factors that go into making these purchases - financial stability, access, time management, etc. So our challenge to you is to choose one switch you can easily make. JUST ONE.


I'll share a few examples with you. I have been using shampoo bars and conditioners for a couple years and I'm basically a walking saleswoman for them. I often have conversations with people with specific hair types (long, thick, curly, etc.) who are hesitant to try them - no problem, absolutely understandable. In these cases, I'll suggest another plastic-free switch they can make. Can you ditch your plastic bottle of body wash for a bar soap? Or how about a reusable menstrual pad or a metal razor (sticking with a bathroom theme here)?


On an even smaller scale, look for any swaps you can make at the grocery. As it happens, my favorite brand of Jalapeño Ranch dressing comes in both a plastic and a glass bottle. Now, I buy a lot of this ranch so by simply switching to the glass container, I'm probably saving 30 plastic bottles a year. Imagine how many plastic bottles that would be if everyone in Anchorage made a small switch like that?

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