Monday, April 03, 2006

USA - San Francisco group resists new purchases

The power of the internet harvest the potential of the Compactors from the group The Compact set up in San Francisco.

The question is What would happen if you gave up shopping for a year? The Guardian reports that a group in San Francisco, calling themselves the Compactors, have agreed not to buy anything new (apart from items related to food, health and work) for the whole of 2006. It's not even as easy as it sounds.

What about underwear? (All other clothing must be bought second-hand, but underwear has been exempted.) Is the carbon footprint of a bought can of beans greater or smaller than making them yourself at home?

The Yahoo group set up by the Compactors has become an interesting documentation of the questions that beset many consumers, but it also offers helpful suggestions (and has a links page that illustrates just how hard many people are thinking about these things - for example, every month San Francisco holds the Really Really Free market where everything is swapped). There are ways of crocheting bath rugs out of plastic bags, recipes for making paper, eulogies about growing your own food and spats about whether religion plays a part in this mindset. This is very similar to the Give or Take events taking place around Europe and in London, Hackney.

The Compact has several aims (more or less prioritized below):

We are a group of individuals committed to a 12-month flight from the consumer grid (calendar year 2006).

To go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of disposable consumer culture and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step that, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact.
To reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er).
To simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)

Their blog, click here
Their Yahoo Group, click here

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