Over the years, my family has become more aware of the price of the things we own. Much of the clothing, electronics and other items are made by workers that cannot afford the very items they are making. There are also the environmental issues to consider. Automobiles can take up to twice their weight in raw materials to produce. Electronics take many times more.
As a family, we strive to purchase items that we feel are fairly made. To us, that means that the workers received a fair wage. We also strive to purchase items that produced with recycled materials and/or are sustainably produced. Second hand items are ok.
For those items where there wasn’t a fair choice, we set aside 1/4 the purchase price of the item. This is our fair trade markup. These funds were set aside at purchase time. At the end of the year, the fair trade funds go to organizations that we feel support sustainable living and fair trade. Everyone in the family, adults and children, participate in our fair trade program.
Some items were easy. I was able to find journals I like to write in, made in Canada with recycled paper. We have been able to find almost all the clothing and furniture we need second hand.
It is amazing how much you can find when you start looking.
Some items immediately became unavailable. I had been taking photos for my website, but my digital camera was old and didn’t work well in poor light. We use a 200Mhz laptop to access the Internet. I like to listen to music in my car and wanted an MP3 player. None of these items are fairly made. Even paying the fair trade markup, I didn’t feel right purchasing them. I decided to wait.
Over time, I was able to find solutions. For playing music, I found a CD player at Goodwill. I have it connected to my car stereo. It even plays CD-RWs, so I can rewrite disks when I want to listen to new music.
As for the digital camera, recently someone on a message board put one up for $100. It was an upgrade for me, so I purchased it. My mother-in-law ironically, recently lost her digital camera, so I passed my older one to her.
As for the laptop, a friend of mine, whom I help with computers from time to time, knew I was interested in a used laptop. He is going to let me have his laptop when he upgrades.
For me, being committed to making the right kind of purchases, making my own thoughts clear, then waiting for the right solution has paid off.
This post was published on GroovyGreen.com here