Eco-minimalism: what it is and why you should adopt it

Minimalism and sustainability go hand in hand for a lot of people, and they definitely go for me. Minimalism is focused on living with less, which means that you also buy and consume less. Because overconsumption is one of the main drivers of climate change, one of the best things we as individuals can do for the environment is to consume less. So minimalism can be a great tool for sustainability.

However, minimalism in and of itself is not necessarily inherently sustainable. I have written before about how decluttering can be very unsustainable, and for many people minimalism is more about the aesthetic or about saving money than the anti-consumerism part. Even if you live with less, you can still buy things and get rid of things in an unsustainable way.

Enter eco-minimalism: an eco-friendly way of practicing minimalism that focuses on minimizing your environmental impact.

a photo of the leaves of a monstera plant with the text "Ecominimalism" in the center in a white, curly font

According to Google, eco-minimalism was originally a term in eco-friendly construction coined in the early 2000s. But since then, it has expanded its definition to include much more than just construction, in a similar way to minimalism having expanded from an art movement to a way of living.

The first place where I encountered the term eco-minimalism was Shelbizleee on YouTube. She is a huge proponent of eco-minimalism, and defines it as buying as little as you can new to have the smallest environmental impact. This means buying only what you need, and if you do need something, you try to find it secondhand first.

This way of practicing minimalism focuses less on the aesthetic part of it: it is not about white and clean surfaces, black and white clothes and owning only the bare minimum. Instead, it is about using what you already have and using what is already out there in the world. This can perfectly go hand in hand with a more maximalist aesthetic, if that is what you prefer.

So why should you adopt eco-minimalism?

First of all, I believe that eco-minimalism is an incredibly accessible way to be more sustainable. I think the principles of eco-minimalism can be applied to absolutely everyone and every situation, regardless of your personal preferences, finances and abilities.

Of course, not everyone has the same access to secondhand options, but we all can be conscious of what we buy and search secondhand first whenever possible. Especially when there are no time constraints to a purchase, you can take the time to see if you can find it secondhand first. And only when you can’t find something, you can look for the most sustainable new option that fits within your budget.

Another reason why I believe everyone should adopt eco-minimalism, is because it truly is one of the biggest impacts we can make as individuals living in a hyper-consumerist society. There are so many things we can barely change as long as governments and big companies aren’t doing their part. But what we can change, at least to some extent, is what we give our money to. And by buying less, buying secondhand, and buying from sustainable and ethical businesses when and if we can, we can show what is important to us as consumers. Overproduction is only a successful business model as long as we keep overconsuming.

So if you want to start living more sustainably, start with buying less.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s