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How Donuts Sparked A Conversation About Overconsumption

Written by: Sharina Perry, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

One morning I decided to take donuts to the office. The goal, purchase half a dozen donuts. Upon checking out, I was told purchasing a dozen would only cost me $2 more. That seemed like a no-brainer, so off I went with my dozen donuts. Everyone interested in having a donut ate one.

A box with fresh homemade donuts with icing.

The habit in the office is to make sure the refrigerator is cleaned out and "old” items are thrown away at the end of each week. Well, the discarded items included half of the dozen of donuts I purchased earlier in the week.


I have a partner who often makes light humor of my "hey, that's a good deal, we only need one but let's buy two” behavior. Until this particular clean-out-the-fridge day, my response had always been dismissive with light laughter. But that day sparked a broader conversation in our office about how a good deal leads to unnecessary waste and overconsumption. So we began an intentional conversation around "rethinking” our company views on marketing and spending.


According to the Environment America Research and Policy Center: "The U.S. produces more than 12% of the planet's trash but is home to only 4% of the world's population. Americans throw out 4.9 pounds of trash per person every day. That's 1,800 pounds of material per American every year.” How do we fix this statistic?


Since the term sustainability made its way into almost every industry sector and household, I have made it a point to put my certification in Sustainable Strategies and Circular Economics to use by educating on all platforms I engage.


Now, back to my donut purchase. Even though I “only” paid $2 more for a dozen, was it a "good deal”? At the time I thought "absolutely”. But in retrospect, it was a "bad deal”. Not only did I throw out more food waste, but I also paid extra for the benefit of doing so. So the bigger question is, do we feel "cheated" when paying for exactly what we will consume? An honest assessment would indicate we are not cheated at all.


As a company guided by a sustainable ecosystem business model, we work with manufacturers seeking sustainable solutions for their clients. What we have found quite perplexing is while there is market demand for eco-friendly solutions, many corporations and consumers fall short when it comes to the willingness to pay the cost. I believe this is linked to thought processes that focus so much on the upfront cost without calculating the overall savings and benefits on the back end.


For instance, a manufacturer will pay more for Utopia Plastix than traditional petroleum-based resins. However, by choosing Utopia Plastix, they will reduce their carbon footprint, save on energy costs, reduce waste, and contribute to local economies, just to name a few advantages. These benefits are precisely why we encourage producers and consumers to rethink how we use our natural resources through a broader lens. This means looking beyond the sticker price of a single product sold or purchased.


Hopefully, my experience of a donut purchase will spark a conversation among members of your household and within your organization's offices causing people to rethink how they spend their money to help reduce waste and overconsumption. ‒ https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/national-overview-facts-and-figures-materials


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Sharina Perry, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sharina Perry is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder/Inventor of Utopia Plastix, a plant-based alternative to petroleum-based plastics. Sharina is also the creator and developer of The Utopia Model, a sustainable eco-system business model. She is viewed broadly as an innovator, strategist and out-of-the-box thinker. She is often recognized for her keen ability to encourage constructive thought and intentional leadership.

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