Comment: Do we still need expensive household items to buy for life today?
The good news is that the acceleration of e-commerce has created a more democratic marketplace where consumers have more say in what they want.
Even if you don’t want to pay for hundreds or thousands of home products, you can use your dollar to vote for low-carbon companies that channel their resources into sustainable research and design or brands that invest in greening their supply chains, packaging and delivery. . We can also, as a general rule, insist on greater transparency of this information from retailers.
For example, IKEA, which was once the benchmark for affordable fast furniture, is now investing in designs that can be “reused, refurbished, remanufactured and possibly recycled whenever possible”. It has removed all single-use plastic products from its furniture range and uses only renewable or recycled materials.
Some say it doesn’t lessen the effect of fast moving furniture on the environment, but it’s a start. And if more consumers are voting with their wallets, who’s to say what possibilities modern technology can create?
The best part: Low-carbon products don’t have to be outrageously expensive for the average consumer. With e-commerce eliminating barriers to entry and geography, inexpensive products and sustainable design don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
So there really is no need to commit to a “forever” crockpot or long-lasting television when technology, our lives, and our living spaces are constantly changing. And there’s certainly no reason why any of these items should cost so much that we have to pay in installments like we do for a car.
As consumers, it’s not at all unreasonable to demand affordable products that, while not “indestructible”, are durable for both the earth and our wallets.
Annie Tan is a freelance writer based in Singapore.