40% of people are sleep deprived, inadequate sleep kills more than 3000 people each year and 53% of us admit to feeling constantly exhausted. We’re too time-poor to sleep.
Most people are living very busy lives – working longer hours, lengthy commutes, unpaid overtime, urgent deadlines, juggling multiple priorities, kids after-school activities, social commitments, life administration, social media and domestic chores – we’re increasingly time poor and most of us will do anything to save time. We want convenience, regardless of the monetary cost or environmental impacts.
Research suggests that almost 70% of Australians are regularly ordering take-away or using food delivery services because it’s inconvenient to cook. Australians are spending $2.6 billion a year on food and drink delivery apps. Convenience is king.
Governments, Councils and community organisations around the world are supporting the Circular Economy. A circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed system, minimising the use of resource input and the creation of waste, pollution and emissions. The circular economy aims to keep products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer, thus improving the productivity of resources.
In reality many of us aren’t reusing, sharing, repairing and keeping things in a closed system. In fact, using clothes as an example, many items of clothes are worn only 7 times and 30% of us admit to throwing out clothes we’ve only worn once.
So I went out and interviewed 100 Australian women and asked them why they don’t buy, wear or utilise 2nd hand clothes. Here’s what they said.
Time and convenience – Women don’t have the time to travel to different second-hand shops. Nor do they have the time to look, trawl or rummage through often poorly organised racks of clothes to find what they need.
“It’s too much effort for no gain. It’s easier and quicker to buy brand new”
The ‘Experience’ – Social media is full of ‘Influencers’ bragging that they’ve bagged a bargain or found a discounted designer brand. But that’s not the case for everyone – it’s a gamble. For many it’s a time-consuming and frustrating experience.
“I can spend a very long time in second-hand shops and walk away without finding anything – There’s only so many times and actual time you can go through that experience before you stop trying”
Trust – Women said that they know and trust what they are getting – size, style, fit, quality and price– in their favourite retail stores. They said it’s about speed, convenience, certainty and guarantees.
“If you need a white T-Shirt you go to Kmart or Target because you know that they will have a T-Shirt in your size.”
Circular Economy strategies are one thing, implementation is tougher. Significant changes in behaviour will be needed from individuals, communities, businesses and the public sector to keep products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer.
We are all faced with a confronting challenge. Do we continue to conveniently and rampantly consume buying just for the sake of buying? Or, should we help make circulating products – including second hand clothes – quicker, easier, cheaper and most of all more convenient?
What do you think?
Rachel Smith is an author, speaker and transport planner.She was retained by the UK Government for 6 years as a specialist advisor, has spoken at more than 200 conferences, has 2 TEDx talks and her work has appeared in international media including the BBC, ABC, DW-TV, SBS, Disney Channel and The Economist. She was part of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, developed the first crowd solving bicycle map and won the CIHT BP Road Safety Award.