Not so long ago, we lived in a society where people really took care of the things they owned. They were proud of their possessions and they looked after them with love and care. We currently live in a society where it is so easy to replace something that has broken with something new, that we have lost this pride in what we own. Buy, use, and toss it away – a good mantra for consumerism, but not so great for the planet. When we buy second hand, we are able to break this destructive cycle.
We’ve already chatted about the need to buy less in general, but for Pledge #20 we’re going to take a look at the environmental benefits of buying used goods, rather than brand new ones.
What can I do?
An easy way to compensate to still live a life of relative luxury and convenience, while minimising your impact is to buy second hand. Not only will it be easier on your pocket, but it will also be easier on the environment. Also, you might find some really amazing gems and bargains when doing second hand shopping, compared to when you go to a big store and buy something that has been mass-produced. That second-hand item you decide to buy might have a great story behind it. Often, you also find brand new items being sold as second hand. And the thrill when you find a truly great bargain is an amazing incentive to explore the lesser-known stores and markets in your community.
Clothing, in particular, is increasingly being treated as “disposable”, resulting in millions of tons of non-recyclable textiles and plastics being sent to landfill every year. In a world of fast fashion, buying used clothing is a great way to save money and still have a full wardrobe of items to mix and match.
Furniture, tools, décor, books, small appliances – there are many bargains out there! Let your creativity shine – give a second hand item a new lease on life with a coat of paint!