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How can Aussie consumers maintain ethical consumerism whilst cutting costs?

How can Aussie consumers maintain ethical consumerism whilst cutting costs?

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Rising costs of living have affected both Australian households and businesses in a major way, with many trying to cut costs wherever they can just to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the act of cutting costs can also greatly impact your home or business' overall carbon footprint and ethical consumption habits.

The fact of the matter is that swapping out premium home and office products for lower-cost alternatives usually means indirectly promoting unsustainable practices, including going as far as buying products that produce more waste or cannot be ethically reused or recycled.

A question that many Aussie consumers have been seeking answers for over 2022 is simply how they can consider the ethics behind their consumer habits without having to add to their weekly or monthly expenses. Here are just a few ways that you can stay a savvy, sustainability-oriented shopper whilst still raking in some much-needed savings.

Opt for recyclable or reusable products wherever possible

Sometimes, recyclable or reusable products can actually already be more cost-effective than their higher priced, premium alternatives. For instance, compatible ink cartridges made by high-quality cartridge manufacturers are now available for home and office printer users across Australia.

The lower price points boasted by compatible ink cartridges over cartridges produced by big name printer manufacturers, ensures that Aussie consumers don't have to pay premium prices in order to replenish their home and office printing supplies.

We do have to offer a small disclaimer with purchasing compatible ink cartridges, however. As compatible ink cartridges are produced by third party printer cartridge manufacturers, it becomes more difficult to gauge quality and even the recyclability of these printer cartridges.

For this reason, it's always recommended that consumers purchase their compatible ink cartridges from reputable third party manufacturers or trusted, sustainable Australian printer cartridge suppliers like CartridgesDirect.

CartridgesDirect is actually the only Australian office supplies retailer that takes independent measures to ensure that all of their printer cartridges are fully recyclable and sourced from high-quality cartridge manufacturers, meaning that consumers can enjoy high-value, fully recyclable printer cartridges at lower price points.

Buy in bulk to get better bang for your buck

Another benefit to buying compatible printer ink cartridges is simply that compatible cartridges solely come in XL or XXL cartridge variants, allowing consumers to experience higher page yields for lower price points. This is one of the many benefits of buying in bulk, especially for consumers who can accurately predict they are likely to consume particular products at a rapid rate.

Of course, there are certain risks to buying in bulk, one of which includes overconsumption that results in overspending and perhaps even in the production of excess waste. Ideally, bulk purchases should never be on impulse.

It's always best to maintain a strategic approach to buying in bulk, just to avoid your risks of falling victim to overconsumption. For example, if you're a member of a larger household with kids and pets and have identified that you go through paper towels on a regular basis, then buying eco-friendly paper or bamboo fibre towels in bulk is likely to help you both stock up on this non-perishable product, as well as experience major savings on both time and money, as buying five or so packs individually and at separate intervals sounds increasingly more inconvenient than buying in bulk.

That being said, there are of course, products like perishables that should not be bought in bulk if they're unlikely to be used before their best by date. It's always worth taking some time when buying at wholesale outlets, to determine whether or not the decreased costs of the items you're buying outweigh the losses resulting from food waste.

Consumers may even decide to go one step further with regards to their sustainable practices, and refuse to buy products if there is a very real chance that that purchase will just result in unnecessary waste.

Avoid unnecessary consumption

Speaking of overconsumption, avoiding the allure of impulse purchases is of course, easier said than done, especially when you consider that modern retail environments are legitimately designed around getting us to spend as much as we can.

Unfortunately, impulse buying can hurt our hip pockets a lot more than you may think possible, with impulse purchases being among the leading causes of credit card debt for modern consumers across the globe.

Psychology experts assert that impulse buying can act as a method of emotional regulation, hence the term 'retail therapy'. With this in mind, consumers can potentially minimise the likelihood of them making impulse purchases by simply keeping their values in mind when shopping and taking time to understand exactly why they're feeling compelled to buy products they know they don't actually need.

Other tactics involve letting the impulse 'cool off', and setting strict budgets for shopping trips to avoid overspending due to impulse buying.

It's also worth noting that overconsumption isn't just an issue of national waste production, but more a global environmental and economic issue. The practice of overconsumption in the West has been linked to air, water, and soil pollution in countries across South America, Africa, and South-east and Eastern Asia.

This has left many populations across the globe at risk of experiencing environmental harm, including detrimental impacts on local agriculture and food production.

We can do our part to curb over consumption practices by refusing to spend frivolously and unnecessarily on products we have no need for. Purchasing conscientiously and minimally will slowly improve the health and wellbeing of peoples across the globe, as well as helping your own pockets stay nice and full.

Support businesses who value their triple bottom line

Although cutting costs may involve having to support brands you may be less familiar with, there's no reason why your lower cost alternatives can't still be helping the planet. It's always best to do a little research into the businesses that you're supporting through your purchasing habits, just to make absolutely certain that your money isn't going towards any causes or practices that don't align with your values.

Assess company mission statements and evaluate whether or not they've swapped out their traditional 'bottom line' for a 'triple bottom line', or an equal focus on their organisation's social and environmental impacts just as much as their monetary profits.

A great place to begin is by identifying businesses who express concern for their own waste production, and seek to find their place within a circular economy.

To use the example of printer cartridges again, as these are recyclable products, you should ideally be purchasing them from a retailer who does make efforts to ensure that their cartridges are responsibly disposed of at the end of their natural life.

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Whilst cutting costs may require some level of sacrifice or compromise, the availability of sustainable or ethically sourced alternatives to big brand products allows modern consumers to maintain their values when sticking to strict spending budgets.

Aussie consumers are encouraged to follow the tips outlined above when adjusting their spending habits to ensure that they continue to consume conscientiously.