Maryam Garad: Conscious Consumption | Green Week 2022

For our Green Week 2022, Bush Young Company Member Maryam Garad gives us a rundown of some simple ways we can all become more conscious consumers.

Anyone with a conscience cares about the environment. We’ve all seen the facts, we’re all regularly inundated with pictures of overflowing landfills, and the threat of countries going underwater within the next 30 years. It’s hard to feel like you are doing enough. For Bush Theatre’s Green Week, I wanted to briefly remind you guys of really easy ways we can stay environmentally conscious!

We’ve all seen the facts, we’re all regularly inundated with pictures of overflowing landfills, and the threat of countries going underwater within the next 30 years.

We should all be reducing the amount of new things that we’re buying! As a society we purchase around 400% more clothes than just 20 years ago. The fashion industry churns out about 8 billion pieces of clothing and shoes per year. Fast fashion is certainly to blame for this.

However, it’s not as simple as shaming people for their fast fashion wardrobes. Fast fashion is often the cheapest, most diverse and size-inclusive way to shop. But we could all do with thinking a bit more about the longevity of the items we’re buying, and whether we need to buy quite so many of them. Do you think everything in that PLT haul will be of use to you in three years’ time?

As a cheap alternative to buying new, I try and alter the clothes that I do have – an environmentally friendly way of streamlining our wardrobes and making them more sustainable. Getting creative with your clothes helps you redefine what ‘new’ means to you!

Finally, read clothes labels carefully when shopping. This way we can choose the more environmentally friendly option, and make a more efficient choice. For instance, if it’s an option for you, buy organic cotton instead of regular cotton. Organic cotton is a stronger fabric that will last longer, meaning you won’t have to replace the item as quickly!

Although I’m a vegetarian and would love to see more people become meat free, I realise it isn’t a sustainable or healthy lifestyle for everyone. However, I do believe that everyone can commit to small, easy changes to their food habits.

One-third of food worldwide ends up in the bin. Making more informed choices at the grocery store can make a massive difference. Something I’ve adopted recently is instead of doing one big shop at the weekend (which always means I waste food), I buy the staple items I need and only buy extra ingredients as and when. Another alternative solution is buying more frozen vegetables and fruit. Finally, I try to only buy fruit that is in season. Seasonal fruit uses less energy for artificial heating/lighting for storage which will lead to less greenhouse gas emissions.

A very easy one that we should all be doing – eliminating single use plastic! in the UK alone we now produce around 380 million tons of plastic every year, over half of which is single use plastic. We use over 35 million plastic bottles every day; a really simple way to combat this is to carry a reusable water bottle (although I will be the first to admit that after buying a water bottle I will either lose it or forget about it within a week… something to work on). Another obvious one is to not use plastic straws and avoid using disposable plastic cutlery.

Bring your own bag to the shop: most plastic shopping bags aren’t recyclable and end up being taken to a landfill where they can take up to 500 years to fully decompose. The same applies for the plastic produce bags; bring a small, reusable produce bag instead.

Lastly – and this is one that I didn’t know about – switch to boxed laundry powder instead of liquid detergent. It seems obvious that this saves plastic now I know, and makes me wonder what other tricks I’m missing out on!

These are all super easy changes that anyone can try and make in order to reduce their plastic, food and clothing waste! By taking small things like this into consideration, we can all become more conscious consumers.