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For a few years now, I’ve been what I like to call myself “an environmentalist”. I’ve taken action to change the way I live so that I could reduce my impact on the planet. I lowered my consumption and gave up on a certain number of things that I do not buy anymore. 

Reducing your consumption of material things is key if you want to live in a more gentle way for the planet. 

That’s one of the many benefits of minimalism and why I love it so much!

Buying new stuff means we are creating a demand to produce new things. And we need to extract more raw materials from the Earth.

But it also results in higher greenhouse gas emissions and a lot more waste! 

So it is essential to avoid impulse buying and ask ourselves questions before buying something.

But we should also consume in a more eco-friendly and ethical way.

One option is buying things second-hand, for instance at thrift stores, which has many environmental benefits.

We can also find sustainable alternatives to the things we buy or even entirely stop buying some of them. 

In line with that, here are 19 things I do not buy as an environmentalist to reduce my impact on the planet! 

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19 things I do not buy as an environmentalist

1 – Magazines

Magazines are something that I’ve rarely bought in my life.

Where I live, I can borrow them at my local library so that’s where I’m used to getting them. But despite that, I very rarely read magazines.

Not buying magazines is an amazing way to save trees as producing them requires a lot of paper! 

2 – The latest technology

As an environmentalist and a minimalist, I never enjoyed buying things to keep up with the Joneses.

That is especially true for technology!

I always make sure to use my electronic items until they are no longer usable.

And I also don’t buy technology that I don’t need, like smartwatches or specialty household appliances. 

3 – Useless gadgets and knick-knacks

Besides sustainable living, I’m very into minimalism and simple living.

This means that I generally don’t buy random and useless gadgets for the home.

I find that knicks-knacks often add more clutter and they don’t bring value to my life.

So these are things I do not own as a minimalist and as an environmentalist. I always try to avoid them. 

4 – Wrapping paper and gift bags

Wrapping paper and gift bags are so wasteful! They are often made of plastic and are not recyclable.

For those reasons, I do not want to support this industry.

When I give a gift, I always reuse old wrapping paper and gift bags that are still in good condition and that someone gave me in the past.

That’s a great way to reuse things that already exist! 

5 – Souvenirs

Whenever I would travel somewhere, I used to buy souvenirs so that I can better remember that place.

Now, I rarely find the need to, because my memories are in my head and pictures.

I don’t need physical objects to remind me of a trip.

Many people like buying souvenirs while traveling and that’s 100% okay to do so.

If you do, please make sure they are ethically and locally sourced. It is a good thing to do if you want to travel more sustainably!

I stopped buying souvenirs when I became an environmentalist.

6 – Cheap jewelry

I truly dislike cheaply-made jewelry! You know, those pieces of jewelry that end up turning green or breaking only after wearing them a few times?

It is so wasteful and ends up costing way more than silver or gold jewelry in terms of how many times you can wear them!

I only buy quality jewelry, which means I do it rarely as they last forever.

It is also more expensive up front, but so much more worth it in the long run! 

7 -Meat and fish

I’ve given up meat and fish two and a half years ago and haven’t looked back since.

Doing this is one of the best things to do to help the environment for so many reasons!

If going vegetarian or vegan is too extreme for you, consider reducing your consumption. That will still make a massive impact! 

8 – Take-outs

Ordering take-outs is so enjoyable but unfortunately very wasteful.

It usually comes in plastic or styrofoam packaging, and napkins and plastic cutlery are often added.

Do I need to mention the plastic or paper bags that are often given to take them home?

I do not want to add waste to the landfill so when I want to eat good food, I always eat inside the restaurant.

And I find it even more enjoyable as I love the atmosphere! 

9 – Bottled water

Bottled water is something that I stopped buying a long time ago.

Ever since I’ve had a stainless steel water bottle, I’ve always drunk tap water.

And even though plastic bottles are often recyclable, I don’t like supporting that industry.

Ditching bottled water is such an easy way to reduce waste!

Not to mention that drinking in plastic bottles isn’t very good for our health as chemicals can leach into the water. 

10 – Plastic straws and cutlery

For the same reasons why I stopped buying bottled water, I do not buy single-use straws and cutlery.

Using them would be adding so much waste to the landfill!

There are so many great zero waste swaps out there like reusable bamboo straws and cutlery.

Why not take advantage of them? 

Read more: 18 minimalist kitchen essentials for simple, efficient cooking

11 – Tea bags

I love tea so much so I’ve always bought many kinds of tea. Many of them came in tea bags, but I realized that these are pointless.

Did you know that most tea bags contain plastic? Crazy, right?!

Since then, I have switched to loose-leaf tea that I use with a tea strainer.

The best thing is that it is so much cheaper, which is a great money-saving tip! And it reduces waste in the kitchen

12 – Conditioner

I’ve never bought any conditioner for my hair in my entire life.

I know some people need to use a conditioner for their type of hair, but I don’t. Or at least, my hair is looking great without using it.

As conditioners often come packaged in plastic, I’m happy that I’ve never felt the need to use one!

If you need a conditioner for your hair, did you know that apple cider vinegar works perfectly for that purpose? You should try it!

13 – Products with microbeads in them

A lot of people don’t know that, but many skincare and makeup products contain microbeads in them.

This is such a shame because these are microplastics that are then poured down the drain and end up in our oceans.

That’s why, as an environmentalist, I do not buy products containing microbeads.

Avoiding them is a great thing to do to help conserve water on our planet! 

As an environmentalist, I stopped buying products with microbeads in them.

14 – Feminine hygiene products

When I became an environmentalist, I also stopped buying pads and tampons.

Think about how many disposable pads or tampons a woman throws away each year.

I didn’t want to contribute to that anymore so I bought a menstrual cup. And I’ve never regretted making the switch, it is amazing!

It can last for about 10 years and it’s an essential product for people who want to be zero waste in the bathroom

15 – Fabric softener and dryer sheets

These are two products I’ve always lived without!

I make my own natural laundry detergent. And as I don’t want to use unnecessary chemicals in my home, I’ve never used fabric softener.

Same thing for dryer sheets. I don’t own a dryer as I always like to air dry my clothes, so I don’t need dryer sheets either. 

Read more: 10 natural and sustainable alternatives to dryer sheets for soft, fresh, and static-free laundry

16 – Tons of makeup

I’ve never been very into makeup but I enjoy wearing it.

However, I always make sure to only have one of each makeup product, and I only rebuy them when I run out.

Not buying tons of makeup saves me money but also a lot of waste as we need to replace makeup regularly. 

Read more: 7 easy steps to declutter makeup and skincare products

17 – Makeup wipes

As I wrote in the previous point, I enjoy wearing makeup but I don’t buy makeup wipes.

These are full of chemicals and end up in landfill after only one use. I use organic coconut oil and my fingers to remove makeup from my face.

Another great alternative is to use reusable cotton rounds with oil. It is such a great way to be more eco-friendly at home! 

18 – Conventional cleaners

Taking action to create a healthier home has been my priority for the last few years.

An easy step I took was to stop buying conventional cleaning products and switch to natural alternatives.

Now, I use white vinegar and baking soda everywhere in my home, which I love and find to be very efficient!

Dr. Bronner’s products are also a great natural and multipurpose option. 

Read more:

19 – Air fresheners

In line with my goal of staying away from toxic products, I never buy air fresheners of any kind, for the home and the car.

I find them useless and if I want to refresh the air, the best thing to do is to open the window.

It’s both healthy and free to do, so why buy products instead? 

If you want to add a nice natural scent, consider getting a diffuser with some essential oils.

There you have it! Those were 19 things I do not buy as an environmentalist! 

Those were either things that I’ve never bought or things that I used to buy but stopped purchasing later.

I often did that for both health and environmental reasons, which usually go hand in hand. 

Many products are so wasteful, yet very easily replaceable with more eco-friendly alternatives.

I also find that we might be using certain things that we could give up entirely too! 

It’s great to reflect on why you are using certain things, and if there are any better alternatives for you and the planet. 

If you liked this article, you will also enjoy reading: 24 things I stopped buying as a minimalist.

I’d love to know what things you do not buy as an environmentalist?

Or simply as someone who is aware of their impact and wants to make a change. 

Let’s share them with us so that we can get inspired by each other! 

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  1. I love this post!! I do a lot of these things already, although make-up wipes is new information for me. I always cut the wipes into fours because I only use them for my eye makeup, but I could just as easily use coconut oil to remove the makeup. Great tip. Thank you!

    1. Oh thank you so much!
      That’s a great tip you have for people who still want to use their makeup wipes! Cutting them in fours will reduce waste by 4 which is already great! Every little thing we do to reduce waste adds up, and it truly makes a difference 🙂

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