TikTok Shop Causes Too Much Waste: How to Stop Overconsumption

  • by Cinestie Olson

Thanks to social media, it’s easier to see and purchase the next best thing. PayPal express or TikTok Shop makes it brainless to checkout quickly. Your favorite influencers are really great at influencing you to purchase a new product. There’s always a new trend, a new hair curler to rave over, that new lip gloss that just came out, the next “spring shoe,” and new, new, new things you MUST need… but do you actually? 

Why Do We Over Consume?

For this Earth month, let’s bring up a hot topic: Overconsumption. You may know about overconsumption in a more practical way, such as drinking too much or spending too much money. However, we are talking about overconsumption in a way that we humans simply want too much, and our actions have consequences. With an extremely fast-paced world and economy, new products are being advertised daily. It’s hard to not want to keep up and risk the feeling of FOMO.

According to United Nations University, that urge to want that new thing goes all the way back to our pre-modern roots. As humans, we were inherently given the trait of gathering and collecting our resources to live comfortably. Naturally, however, the root of access to all those resources becomes more and more sparse, and we need new ideas to be able to get something we need more quickly. Humans in pre-modern times that thrived were ones who had an excess of resources and ways to get them. This also meant that the ways that those thriving humans got what they wanted, was due to competitiveness and short-term thinking, AKA lack for the future.

What’s So Bad About Over Consuming?

More things may seem like more success, but there are consequences to overconsumption. Many of the products we don’t intentionally buy end up in landfills. The average American throws away nearly 70 pounds of clothing, over 120 billion units of skincare/beauty packaging, and nearly 222 million tons of food. These three industries are the most “raved” about on social media, especially TikTok Shop.

Flooding landfills aren’t the only consequence of overconsumption. When social media crazes over the new Stanley Cup or the fake freckles trend, manufacturers have to source materials quickly in order to create and send out these products to meet the demand. Finding the materials needed means manual labor and possibly unethical practices. A third of ALL plastic (we’re talking throughout the entire world) goes towards packaging. In 2018, 1.3 billion tons of raw materials were extracted globally for the production of electronic goods. Lastly, it’s estimated that each person on Earth uses 40% more resources than the Earth can renew.

How to Stop Overconsumption

Though big corporations are always to blame for the excessive waste, there is a way to relieve your personal overconsumption! 

The 24-hour rule. If you see something you like online and have the urge to immediately put it into cart and purchase, give it a full day before you insert your credit card info. Pausing can help you assess if you really need this product, or if it’s simply your fleeting desire kicking in. 
Shop secondhand. Thrifting can actually help reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 2 billion pounds annually. Tons of thrift stores have cute and comfortable clothing, decor for the different seasons, and even appliances that work perfectly.
Consider what you already have. I think we can all agree that the Dyson Air Wrap is convenient and impressive. However, don’t you already have a hair dryer and curler? Sure, it may take more time to complete your hair with two different tools, but they both work just the same.
Use reusable items. Using reusable items can help reduce the amount of overconsuming you may do. Instead of purchasing paper towels every single month, use reusable cloths that you can wash and reuse instead! Rather than purchasing tampons or pads filled with plastic, use a reusable period product that can last so much longer than just your week of menstruation.

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