Why Buying Second Hand Items Is the Easiest Way to Help the Environment
January 12, 2015 by A Sustainable Contributor
When you consider environmental issues, we all know that there is a lot we should be doing to make sure we waste as little as possible, recycle wherever we can, and conserve energy both in our homes and businesses. We also know we should look to buy items with recycled, recyclable packaging and which have wasted as little fuel as possible, and created the least amount of carbon emissions in getting to us. All of these things are good, but can be fairly easy to neglect in our every day lives as convenience sometimes gets in the way of what we know we ought to be doing to look after the planet.
One thing that is very easy to do and to remember to do, and which gives benefits to us as well as the environment, however, is buying things second hand where we can. Here, we take a look at why second hand shopping is environmentally friendly, and also good for you and your household.
Second Hand Shopping Reduces Both Waste and Over-production
When you buy items second hand, you are making good use of something that may otherwise have been thrown away forever. This will usually be something perfectly good which the original owner simply didn’t want anymore (as there is no market for completely used up items), or something which can be refurbished into a great item fairly easily (like an old piece of furniture in need of new upholstery). These items could easily have ended up in landfill or being disposed of in other environmentally damaging ways, but when bought second hand, can live out the full extent of their useful lives. Of course, for every appliance, device or other item bought second hand, there is one less brand new product needed too, so in general terms, as long as people willing to accept second hand items (or happy to for cost savings) will do so, less wasteful manufacturing will go on.
Second Hand Shopping Saves You Money and Is Easier Than Ever
It is obvious that a second hand item will cost less than a brand new one that is equivalent, however in the past buying second hand often meant compromising on the thing you wanted. You may have had to take a slightly different style of furniture, you may not have been able to find second hand clothes you liked in your size, or they simply may not have had the thing you wanted in your local thrift store or second hand market. However, now, online, there are lots of marketplaces where people all over the world list items they want to sell like ebay and gumtree, and this means that you can just about always find exactly what you want at a good price. Even having second hand items sent to you from abroad can be cheaper than buying new, and even with shipping by air it can still be better for the environment (given many new products are imported as well).
If you want to do your best for the planet and get great value into the bargain, buying second hand goods really is a great place to start.