Last week I read a few things about saving energy. It turns out that our consumer behavior is broken.

It’s not reasonable to replace your old TV with a new one to save energy. Because you’re not. Your old one needs to be recycled. But instead it’s sent to Africa where people suffer from tearing down the toxic material in it.

“Don’t buy more than what you need. Fast fashion consumption is not sustainable in the long term.”—Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

Your new TV needs to be produced and shipped to you. These steps require a lot of rare earth metals and energy. Now that you have your new TV, you can save a few kilowatt hours per year. But it has cost you over $500 to buy a new one. It’s very unlikely that you’d spend this amount on additional energy with your old TV over the next five years. But will your new TV survive five years?

Consider if you really save money here. Consider if it’s really helping the environment. Instead, power your devices off during the night. That saves $20 on energy and needs no new wasted resources.

You can really change things and save energy by buying less instead of spending more money on additional waste. Less is more.