The Center for a New American Dream, a group I admire, just sent me a little credit card case, made of recycled paper (of course!), with a set of questions to ask before pulling out the plastic to buy something. They’re worth thinking about:
Is this something I need?
Do I already own something that could serve the same purpose?
Can I borrow one, find one used, or make one instead of buying new?
Was it made locally?
Was it made with environmentally preferable materials?
Was it made with fair labor practices?
Will it serve more than one purpose?
Will it be easy and cost-effective to maintain?
Will it using it require excessive energy?
Does it come in excessive packaging?
Can I recycle or compost it when I’m done with it?
If I’m still not sure, can I wait a month before deciding to buy it?
These folks aren’t scrooges. They just want us, in their words, “to cherish that which is most precious because the best gifts can’t be found in stores.”
I wonder whether I would have bought my 50-inch Sony hi-def TV had I consulted this list first. Hard to say, but I have to tell you that I really, really like the TV.