Not only is money tight with food and gas prices rising, but credit is tougher to come by and homes are no longer available as an ATM. At the same time, the spread of eco-consciousness into mainstream culture is shining a spotlight on waste and prompting many consumers to reconsider how they shop.
The shift comes none too soon for Benjamin Barber, political theorist and author of "Consumed." Barber argues that an economy that sells people goods they can't afford and don't need is not sustainable. He asserts that capitalism has been flipped on its head as companies produce needs in order to sell the goods they create.