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?
Every year in the UK, 10 million household items are sent to landfill, with a third of these fit for reuse, according to the Reuse Network. While the quantity of clothing ending up in household bins dropped between 2012 and 2015, the volume purchased over the same period rose by nearly 200,000 tonnes to 1.13 million tonnes, according to a report by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
As Christmas approaches, it’s ever more timely to consider the lasting impact of our retail choices. Research by Deloitte found that UK consumers spend an average of £299 on Christmas gifts – more than any of the other 10 European nations surveyed.
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.