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If you want to make a difference in the world but don’t really know where to start; buying second hand can be an easy one. People have more power than they know, it is a powerful one and rather easy; it is to simply vote with your money. Voting with your money is a sure way to make companies listen and change their ways, if no one is buying their product then why would they continue to make it?
Our society in general is driven by consumerism, one of the best ways to benefit your own pocket, save the environment, and satisfy those shopping urges for unique and wonderful things is to shop second hand.
Organic, green living and eco friendly products are great but they do still require new resources and energy to be used. One can beneficially impact the world around us – by following the 5 R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle, following these will come at little to no cost to your self but benefits all around.
Car Boot Sales, Charity Shops, Second hand shops, and all other things used goods offer the chance to use items which no longer serve the initial buyer but are often in perfectly good working/ wearable order and just need a new home for another long life. By doing this it benefits you, your pocket and the environment
When you shop in second, charity shops, car boot sales and other second hand places your money stretches much farther. On average used products are generally around 50% cheaper and clothing even more so – a couple of pounds, dollars or the like will get you a new top, trousers or dress. This allows you to put your money in other places… extra fruit and veg perhaps, learning to surf, rock climb or another new skill! (Or as you prefer!)
One major and hugely notable benefit of searching out the pre-owned and pre-loved is that all the energy necessary to create it has already been expended. It also keeps perfectly usable items out of landfill! These items will generally be cheap and can help even the slightest of budgets seem bountiful. Incredible amounts of perfectly good items are thrown away everyday which negatively impacts the environment and unnecessarily goes to landfill sites. When purchasing something from new make sure it is of high quality and will last – like this when you pass it on to a friend, family or charity shop then it can take on another life and serve them too.
The second hand giving goes both ways, it can come to you and it comes from you. You are not the end of the line and many people would be delighted to take ownership of the things you deem no longer necessary, beautiful or useful. Charity shops and second hand shops will happily receive items which are still usable/ wearable which they can then sell to further their causes and projects; The act of recycling supports a greener economy and a green movement.
At a charity shop who knows what hidden gems may be found hidden in the rack. Having a rough idea of what you want is great and then finding something suitable is truly excellent. Having found that fantastic item at an unbeatable price is a good feeling and then knowing that it will now have a new home and a new life is great. Second hand shopping is very rewarding and can be very productive. Second hand items are often under priced and finding yourself something that you love, supports the green economy and didn’t heavily impact the environment is wonderful.
Generally speaking if you purchase local and you purchase second hand then your money won’t travel too far away and will stay within the local community. If you purchase from one of the larger charity shops (which some argue have lost their way a little) then it may go further afield but this is something to bare in mind but it still goes to a good cause. Keeping your money local benefits the local community, local businesses and local people. It is often genuinely appreciated as it goes towards helping somebodies way of life or supporting a project rather than travelling to an offshore bank account where it pays no tax and helps no one. They say when you buy from a local small business a real person smiles!
Since the majority of the merchandise you will come across has already had some use (sometimes brand new items can be found) you can see the quality, what lasts and what does not. This is practical and affordable and helps us stay away from fast fashion which should not be purchased in the first place.
Often as you search through the loved items brand name goods can be found, this is not important for everyone but it is important for many. Many people love an item dearly for a brief time then toss it away, this mentality needs to change but that is for a discussion another time! Brand name goods can be found cheaply at bargain prices, nobody knows you only paid £4 for it rather than the £60 normally asked for!
Gratification though shopping is part of our current (Unsustainable) economy and will be for some time to come. Many companies offer cheap, unsustainable and environmentally damaging items to help us fulfil this need. Change is in the air and companies are starting to take note of the changing consumer mood and movement. As people become more aware of the difference they can make and the impact they themselves directly have on the environment companies will start to change with them. Some companies will be doing this because it is what they truly believe should be done and it is what will benefit the many and not the few. Then some companies will do it for to ensure their profit stays high and their share holders happy. As immoral companies shift be sure to watch out for “Green Washing” which can be found out about here.
The future will be green or not at all.Bob Brown