Most of what you buy comes in packaging, which is instantly disposed of. Recycling helps, of course, but it would be so much better if the packaging simply didn't exist, or was at least reduced to a minimum. Try to purchase things without packaging--produce from the pile rather than from the cellophane-wrapped pack.
It's also important to keep in mind that consumerism is very much ingrained in our culture, and that this needs to change. Advertisements for the next best electronic make us greedy for the newest gadget--but we need to stop ourselves before we rush out the Apple store. We needn't buy the new appliance until our current one has died, otherwise we're continually fueling the landfills with perfectly good appliances. And even if we donate or recycle the old, it will eventually reach the landfill and, as you support the creation of more and more electronics, the eventual pile grows and grows at an unnecessary rate. Before you buy something, think about it and determine if you really need it. Most of the time, you'll find you don't.
My vice when it comes to consumerism is books. I see a new book and I have to have it. But I've tried to restrain myself to used book stores, which is actually where I find the most interesting books, often long-forgotten bestsellers. And for those of you who don't write in the margins and highlight passages in books, the library is a perfect place to reduce and reuse. If you're only going to read the book once, why not check out your public library? Or borrow from a friend.
Most importantly, just be thinking about your own consumer impact and how you can reduce your consumption of things that will end up in the earth for decades and centuries, leaking chemicals or piling up to the sky.
Just came across this advertisement for Buy Nothing Day.---
Check it out.
Check it out.
--Alan M. Eddison