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How to stop buying what you don’t really need? The experience of Petro, Angelina and Diana

How to stop buying what you don’t really need? The experience of Petro, Angelina and Diana

8 minutes read
This text is about: Three millennials tell Urban how they started consuming consciously.
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[Conscious consumption is a lifestyle that aims to reduce environmental pollution].

 Petro Mazepa, 32, manager

Three years ago, I came across an online store with various eco-items – instead of plastic toothbrushes, which decompose for hundreds of years, they offered to buy bamboo, an alternative to the usual washcloths was loofah, and the analogue of liquid shampoo in a plastic jar was solid. It turned out that almost all the household items I need have eco-substitutes. I was very interested in it.

I started studying this topic. And then I learned five basic rules that helped me embark on the path of conscious consumption:

* refuse (I refused from unnecessary);

* reduce (I need to reduce);

* reuse;

* recycle (recycle what you can’t reuse);

* rot (send everything else for composting).

I started by stopping buying packages and using backpacks or shoppers instead. Later, I bought a metal cup, and I always asked the coffee shop to pour coffee into it instead of a disposable cup.

I used to love buying books: there were twenty unread books on the shelf, but I ran to the store to buy five more. But since I became a conscious consumer, the number of books I bought has dropped dramatically. I only buy the ones I really want to read. This principle helps not only the planet, but also my wallet.


1. Start from small. Try to discard the bags first, then the paper cups (they are, if you don’t know, not quite paper cups).

2. Before you go shopping, make a shopping list and don’t buy anything outside of it.

3. If you have something that can be repaired – do not buy a new one, but take care of restoring the old one.

book: “Footprints on the Road” by Valery Marcus
movie: “Fast & Furious”
song: “Sword of Ares’ by the band “Tin’ Sotsya.

Angelina Taranenko, 29, journalist

In the summer of 2019, in one of the shops, I saw a cool shopper – so black with a Parisian landscape. I immediately bought it. And every time I took it with me for trips to the supermarket.

A few months later, I saw that an acquaintance was selling homemade shopping bags on Instagram. I bought them – that’s how my path to the philosophy of Low waste living began.

I remember the first time I came to the supermarket with my bags, I felt like I was the center of the universe. Everyone just looked at me, because I was the only person with eco-bags. It was even a little embarrassing. And now I’m ashamed of what I was ashamed of then! 🙂

Then I decided to try reusable fabric pads. I remember how shocked my mom and friends were! But the gaskets were comfortable. Later, other ecological analogues of disposable items began to appear in my life: in particular, I have various hygienic items, such as facial expressions (reusable ear stick), and iron tea strainers (instead of disposable bags).

This March, I set up a popular challenge among “eco-defenders” – we got rid of a number of unnecessary things every day: on the first day of the month – one thing, on the second – two, and so on until 31. It was a total mess! Clothes, shoes, utensils and everything that can still serve people, took to social funds, books went to the library. Everything that could be sent for recycling went to a special station.

For me, “conscious consumption” is a philosophy. I’m scared of the impact of “fast fashion” on the environment, so when buying things, I taught myself to think about what will happen to this thing later. Every time I ask myself, “Do I really need it?”, “Will I use it in a few years?”. This approach also helps to save a lot.

Conscious consumption also changes the worldview: first you stop buying things you don’t need, and a year later you stop communicating with people you don’t need.


1. Do not rush into this, act gradually and prudently.

2. Remember: eco-friendly it’s not about living in a cave, so as not to harm nature, using the benefits of civilization. There must be moderation in everything.

author: Stephen King
movies: “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of The Rings”
song: “Under Your Scars” by the band Godsmack

Diana Popfaluci, 26, is an environmental activist

8 years ago I went to study in Germany. There I began to communicate with a girl who was a vegan and promoted conscious consumption. We lived in a house for which electricity was produced by solar panels. All this influenced the awakening of my eco-consciousness.

In 2015, my friends and I created our own public environmental organization, and later I joined the world-famous Zero Waste.

Around this time, I noticed that I had half an apartment of things I didn’t use. This was especially true of clothes – some I haven’t worn in years! So first I went through the wardrobe: I gave some clothes to my mother and friends, others to charity. I left only what I really carry.

Now I don’t buy clothes spontaneously like I used to. If I need something, I go to the store specifically for that thing. In addition, I often buy second-hand clothes. Also, now I always pay attention to the quality of things. For example, I have a skirt in my wardrobe that I bought for 1000 UAN a few years ago. I wear it very often, so the cost of one day of wearing this skirt is a few hryvnias. Instead, I used to be able to buy a low-quality skirt for 500 UAN and wear it only twice, because after the second wash it lost its appearance.


1. Do not change your lifestyle radically. The best way to get rid of the habit of unconscious consumption is to do it gradually.

2. Conscious consumption is not just about clothes. Many things contain materials that do not decompose for a long time or do not decompose at all. Study the environmental rules and you will understand why it is better to ask the barista to pour coffee into his own thermo cup, rather than a disposable cup.

3. Follow people on social media who promote a conscious lifestyle. My favorite blogs are Anna Pokalchuk, Lores Singer, EcoKsenia and Olesya Vershigora. And my girlfriend and I are recording podcasts on this topic – poyasny.podcast.

book: “The art of asking” by Amanda Palmer
movie: “Donnie Darkо” directed by Richard Kelly
song: Nine Inch Nails — Hurt.

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