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Q&A with Tamara on Buy Nothing New Month

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October marks the start of Buy Nothing New Month. 

Buy Nothing New Month does what it says on the tin - it's a month-long challenge to buy nothing brand new (with the exception of essentials like food, hygiene and medicines). The initiative started in Melbourne and is now global.

It's about thinking where our 'stuff' comes from and where it goes when we're done (often landfill) and what are the fantastic alternatives out there to extend the life of our stuff.

It’s good for the planet, and our pocket!

To celebrate this movement, we spoke to Buy Nothing New Month founder, Tamara DiMattina.

Why did you start Buy Nothing New Month? 

I created Buy Nothing New Month in 2010 after an expedition to Antarctica to learn about climate change.

I wanted to create an inspiring way we could all be a part of repairing our planet.

We’re consuming too much of our natural resources. Buy Nothing New Month reminds us not only that there is more to life than shopping, but that our wasteful ways are harming our planet.  

In addition to not buying new, do you also try to repair and repurpose old or broken belongings? 

Always! I love sewing. I buy things that are too big/too small at the op shop and take them in/out. 

I love the Japanese concept of Kintsugi. This is when you increase the value of broken pottery by piecing it back together with gold. Many creatives follow this idea that by repairing/mending/altering something, you’ve increased its value. 

I do this a lot with clothing, but also homewares. I’ve bought great quality furniture second hand, then give it a makeover with gorgeous new upholstery. It's way more fun, more creative and let’s your inner hunter gatherer come out to play. Who wants their home to look like an Ikea showroom?

How has Buy Nothing New Month changed your day-to-day habits throughout the rest of the year? 

It has informed everything I do. I started with Buy Nothing New Month, but then I created The New Joneses lifestyle template – simple ideas we can all follow for the good of our people and planet. Everything we do has an impact, but by making better choices we can make our impact positive. 

I am for as little waste as possible. I always buy second hand. I avoid packaging where possible. I wear jumpers instead of cranking the heater. Everywhere I can make my footprint little, I have a crack!

What do you think the biggest struggle during the month is?

Literally no struggle. I’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years. Everything you need you can get second hand.

What is your top tip or main piece of advice for anyone trying Buy Nothing New Month for the first time?

Stop, breathe and think ‘do I really NEED this’. Most often, the answer is no. 

To learn more about shopping less, living more or taking the pledge, visit the Buy Nothing New Month website.

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