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As a nation, we’re obsessed with getting a good deal. We’ve seen many different demonstrations of this, most notably through the rapid rise of price comparison websites. The Financial Conduct Authority states that there has been ‘significant growth’ in the use of these deal-finding websites over the past few years, perhaps as a result of the uncertainty that began to spread during the 2007 financial crisis in the UK.
As demand for low cost products has grown, we’ve seen an influx of ‘cheap and cheerful’ furniture ranges, appliances, home decor, and so on. Plastic has, of course, fast become the material of choice for many, often masquerading as high quality wood through the addition of composite materials. Today, it is just as easy to find imitation wood furniture in the stores as it is to find real, quality oak furniture.
The True Cost Of Plastic
The problem with these cheap alternatives is that they’re simply not designed to last. Plastics especially are very vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, which makes them a poor choice for outdoor items such as garden furniture. While the costs may be low, many buyers are finding that they’re having to replace their purchases rather quickly, making them question whether they’re really getting a good deal.
Ultimately, the concept of ‘buy well, buy once’ isn’t just about losing out financially. Quick degradation of plastic items is significantly contributing towards the rise in marine plastic pollution. In 2010, it was estimated that up to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic was disposed of in our oceans, and this figure is expected to increase drastically between now and the year 2025. Marine plastic pollution is severely threatening our sea life, raising the risk of fatalities due to entanglement, ingestion, and suffocation.
Durable Products Can Minimise Waste
So just what should savvy buyers be looking for? The notion of ‘buy well, buy once’ is about choosing sustainable, high quality, and durable materials that are designed to last, ultimately minimising waste. Oak that has been sustainably sourced is often the preferred choice for garden furniture, for example, because it holds up extremely well outdoors. Similarly, bamboo is becoming more widely utilised as an alternative to laminate flooring, clay as an effective insulating building material, and hemp as a breathable, lightweight clothing fabric that’s a more responsible choice than man made synthetics.
Saving Money Through Environmental Responsibility
The benefits of ‘buy well, buy once’ are twofold. Firstly, you as a buyer can help to protect your finances by making responsible decisions regarding your furniture, clothing, and other items. While a deal may look attractive, items become less affordable when they need to be replaced twice as fast as their higher quality counterparts. Secondly, making the decision to purchase sustainable and ethical materials, like oak as opposed to plastic, can help you to do your part for the environment, reducing waste and helping to keep our oceans clean, extending the life of our marine creatures and promoting greener living.