When it comes to shopping, many of us have become used to finding what we want at the click of a finger and having it delivered if not instantaneously, then within a few working days. How much thought is given to the life of the item? Where it came from and where it’ll eventually end up?
These are questions we should all be asking, says Tara Button, author of A Life Less Throwaway and CEO of BuyMeOnce, a shopping website dedicated to finding the longest-lasting and most sustainable products on the planet.
Every year in Australia, 12.4 million tonnes of waste are sent to landfill. As the new season approaches, it’s ever more timely to consider the lasting impact of our retail choices.
Incidentally, it was a gift that changed the way Tara thought about the items she owned. Given a baby blue Le Creuset pot — the brand's cast iron kitchenware has a lifetime guarantee — by her sister on her 30th birthday, Tara describes holding it as a "lightning bolt moment".
"I was a bit of a shopaholic to be honest and I got myself into quite a lot of credit card debt," she explains. "I realised that, actually, I didn’t want my life and my home to be full of meaningless stuff and impulse buys. I wanted everything I brought into my life from then on to have longevity."
She went in search of a website stocking the longest-lasting items on the planet but was surprised to find it lacking. This sparked the journey to her business. Initially a side project, her website went viral in 2016 following an article on the rise of 'buy me once' shopping.
"My mother thinks all of this is hilarious, because I’ve always been the impulse shopper of the family," she laughs. Over a cup of coffee at her office — aptly located in Europe’s largest workspace of sustainable startups — Tara details her best advice on how to go about living a less throwaway life and offers tips for buying items that last.