Environmental Benefits of
Buying Second-Hand Goods
More and more people are turning to the internet to buy second-hand goods. While it may be to save money, it is also environmentally friendly. Repairing, recycling and reusing saves using more of our precious natural resources. Not only this, buying second-hand clothing, shoes, accessories and furniture can express your individuality.
More than ever, Australians turned to the internet to buy and sell second-hand items during the pandemic. According to a 2020 Gumtree report, the Australian second-hand industry is worth $46 billion, which is up $3 billion more than the previous year. There was a shift in our thinking partly because of the worry about being able to pay household expenses with businesses closed down. The lockdowns also opened people’s eyes. We saw firsthand the positive effect it had on the environment and there was so much less pollution, with wild animals even venturing into the streets of cities. Now we want to do more for the environment. Buying and selling used items is a great place to start.
What are the environmental benefits of
buying second-hand goods?
New goods are incredibly expensive or, if they are cheap, they are usually poorly made and only have a limited lifetime.
There are so many benefits of buying preloved items, let’s explore some of them here.
Good for the environment and preserves natural resources
First and foremost, the biggest benefit of buying second-hand goods is the positive impact it has on the environment and earth’s natural resources. Our natural resources are finite and often imported from all corners of the world.
Think about it; how many resources do you think it takes to create new products? The short answer is a lot. For example, it takes around 6800 litres of water to grow the cotton for a pair of jeans, and this is just the beginning. Then you need to use pesticides to ward off bugs and fuel to transport the raw material which causes carbon emissions. Then there are the resources required for labour, to create power and the packaging.
Buying second hand promotes a circular economy
There is a lot of talk of shifting to a circular economy to promote sustainability, so future generations can enjoy the natural resources of earth. Buying second hand helps to promote sustainability and a circular economy. Currently everything is linear — we produce products from finite resources and then we throw them out after using them for a short time. They end up polluting the environment and in landfills.
A circular economy is simply repairing, reusing and recycling the goods already produced. This prevents them from clogging up our waterways and the earth. This leads to toxins leaching into the environment and causing widespread problems.
Growing, manufacturing, packaging and shipping goods puts a lot of pollution into the environment. This includes toxins, pesticides, chemicals and carbon emissions produced from manufacturing products. For example, think about how draining it is to the environment to grow cotton to make your clothes. There are the pesticides used for producing a good quality crop. Then consider whether you need to dry-clean the clothes you buy and how far it travels to reach store shelves. Dry-cleaners use dangerous chemicals that stick to the clothing and imported items cause carbon emissions from the fuel required to ship them to their destination.
No requirement for energy use
When you buy second-hand goods, it does not use extra energy to make it. Not only are you reusing or recycling the product, you make the best use of the energy used to manufacture, farm and ship the original product. The only additional energy it uses is the petrol or diesel you need to pick the item up or to have it shipped/delivered to you.
Find unique pieces
Buying second-hand items can be really fun. No matter whether searching for a retro outfit for a party, a unique piece of furniture, collectables to add to your collection or games for the kids, it is exciting to find often hard-to-find items.
When you buy new items, you are buying what everyone else already has. Buying preloved, second-hand items is an opportunity to acquire something unique. Something nobody else has. A quirky chair may need a little love to bring it back to life but with new fabric or upholstery, it can be as good as new. By renewing used items you can create one-of-a-kind pieces.
Saves you money
The most obvious benefit of buying second hand is the money you save. Used items can be 50% cheaper, or more, than they were when new. You can grab a bargain at a fraction of the original cost. Consider how much money we spend buying nonessential items, so buying them second hand can save you a bundle. Use the money you save for other the essentials in life.
It does not matter whether you are looking for jewellery, sunglasses, books, clothes, electronics or furniture, you can buy quality items for a bargain. What a great way to make your hard earned cash go further.
This is such a good way to prevent so much ending up in the trash. And do not forget, on sell the items you no longer want or use to put money back into your pocket.
Give something back
Why buy a new product when you can get something second hand in good condition? Your money could be going to a charity, small business or an individual, so you give something back to the community. It helps their businesses or puts the money into the pockets of people who maybe trying to raise spare cash.
There is no reason to support big corporations and buy new when you can buy second-hand products that are in good working order and condition.
By buying second-hand items, you are putting your money into building more sustainable communities. And you can truly buy what you want or need guilt free.
Little or no packaging
When you buy new items, they come in so much packaging. Plastic, cardboard, Styrofoam pellets, shrink wrap and paper, and some of these are not recyclable. It fills up our landfills and take years to break down if they ever do. There is often so much packaging it is hard to find what you actually bought among it.
Buying second hand means there is none of that packaging or waste you need to throw out or recycle. You can enjoy what you buy without having to pry it apart from all the wrapping.
Aiming for close to zero waste
You may be a long time second-hand buyer or seller, or it could be a new way of shopping for you. Regardless, the benefits are endless, especially for promoting environmental sustainability and your hip pocket. Even if you start by buying just a few items second-hand, you contribute to a more sustainable way of buying. And there may always be some things you buy new such as some household appliances. But once you start buying and selling second-hand you may find it becomes a new way of buying. Soon it may become a habit to prioritise reuse and recycle over new. Before you know it your lifestyle may become one of close to zero waste.
Second-hand shopping has never been simpler
Shopping at second-hand markets is fun and an exciting day out whether you are alone, or with family and friends. But they cannot always open. It depends on the weather and natural disasters or, as seen recently, lockdowns and restrictions because of the pandemic. You may just not have the time to attend or it is too far to travel.
Blacktown Markets Online makes second-hand shopping simpler than ever. No longer do you need to spend hours trawling ads for goods. You can Blacktown Markets Online it. Blacktown Markets Online is unique in that it matches sellers to buyers and you pay though the website for maximum security.
Join and advertise what you seek for free. Then go about your day as normal and wait for sellers to make you offers. This is a new, unique way of second-hand shopping that helps you find goods with minimum fuss.