Women have consumer power. It is time to use it wisely.
Did you know that women control $20 trillion in annual spending in America and Fleishman-Hillard Inc. estimates that over the next decade women will control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S. Women make the decision in the purchases of 94% of home furnishings, 92%of vacations, 91% of homes, 60% of automobiles, 51% of electronics purchases and make the majority of decisions of groceries and household products.
What we buy and how much stuff we buy is having a huge impact on the world.
Women are can make a difference. Women, as the dominant retail shoppers, need to realize that the choices being made impact the ability for our world to become a Zero Waste society. Self-awareness and change must be part of the increasing powers of the female consumer.
The average woman owns 20 pairs of shoes but only wears 5 pairs regularly
77% of women use less than 10% of beauty products they purchase (the average woman spends more than $15,000 on make-up in her lifetime)
The average woman buys more than 52 items of new clothing a year. (The average Canadian disposes of 14kg of textile waste per year)
One in three bags of groceries purchased is wasted
Women outspend males $10.31 per trip to grocery store
Almost 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics (women put 168 chemicals in their bodies daily)
The average woman throws away 300lbs of “pads, plugs and applicators” in her life-time
Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup collected 20,000 tampon applicators out of 4 million total pieces of reclaimed plastic.
- Avoid “retail therapy”: Try to find other activities to reduce stress or to create positive experiences. At very least just look.
- Use the buyerarchy for consumer decisions
- Make a shopping list for all household purchases and stick to the list.
- Plan meals so that you use food you have and are using leftovers.
- Avoid single-use disposable products: While they may seem convenient or time-saving single use disposable creates lots of waste. Lessen your impact by not using products like disposable razors, plastic straws, take-out disposable coffee cups, and convenience snack foods packaged in non-recyclable materials. Use alternatives to single-use.
- Stop trying to fill it up: Stop filling up your closet, your home and your shopping bag and the refrigerator with stuff. Think of minimizing first by changing shopping habits. Consider buying quality by quantity.
- Consider using less toxic, more eco-friendly hygiene products.
- Realize that beauty does come in a bottle. Reduce the amount of cosmetics purchased. Remember many cosmetics have toxin issues plus most of the packaging is not recyclable. Use products that are refillable or have packaging recycling programs, or make your own.
- Give love not stuff. Think about what you can give other than more stuff.
- Slow down and get organized: Sometimes our hectic lives create bad habits and waste. Take some time to create management systems that create efficiency and promoted waste reduction. Create systems that organize the refrigerator and cupboards, create compost and recycling opportunities in the kitchen, bathroom, home office and garden and enlist other family members to help.
Women have the power to create change by becoming conscious consumers.
“Women have an essential role to play in the development of sustainable and ecologically sound consumption and production patterns and approaches to natural resource management.”
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development