Used products tend to cost a lot less than brand new, while still mostly retaining great quality. However, many people avoid secondhand shopping because it can come off as being “cheap” or the products are mostly subpar anyway.
On the contrary, used products are more valuable than they’re given credit for.
The products you see in secondhand stores usually come from donations, and abandoned containers and storage facilities, which means these are mostly items that previous owners no longer want or companies just want to get rid of. And a product depreciates in value the moment you buy them, so used goods are sold for at least 50% less than their original prices.
You can buy one and save at least twice the money or you can buy twice the stuff. Your dollar will go a lot farther when you buy used.
No need to consume new resources
From mining for metals, pumping out oil, farming cotton or clearcutting woods, manufacturing a product consumes a certain amount of resources.
Billions of trees are cut down every year to produce new books and furniture; tons if oil is pumped from the earth to produce every plastic product; and loads of metal ores are mined to manufacture electronics and jewelry. Each of these processes has devastating consequences on the environment, and they will persist as long as there is a demand to make new products. But when you buy secondhand, you are lessening that demand.
No additional pollutants
Manufacturing facilities pump out a lot of pollutants into the environment, including pesticides, hazardous waste, and carbon emissions. For one, the production of a new cotton shirt would require the use of pesticides in cotton fields. When someone drives a new passenger vehicle, that is an additional 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions that deteriorate our atmosphere every year.
When you buy a used shirt, you are not getting a new product that required more pesticides to make. And when you buy a used car, you are not adding more figures to the average worldwide carbon emissions.
New products come with disposable packaging, as well, such as hard plastic casings, shrink wrap, and styrofoam pellets. Producing these kinds of packaging pollutes our natural resources. And when you dispose of them, they will go to a landfill where it will take them thousands of years to naturally decompose.
Support authentic causes
We often buy brand-new products from giant businesses that do not need any more help to stay afloat. Secondhand products, on the other hand, are sold by people who are merely trying to make ends meet, or by thrift shops that support charitable causes and actively give back to the community, such as caring for the disabled and the poor.
When you buy secondhand goods from your neighborhood, you are supporting the local economy, as well. Your money is kept within your area, instead of heading off to company headquarters elsewhere.
Even when you buy an “organic” product from a corporate behemoth, chances are, you are buying into greenwashing, and the product and their manufacturing procedures are not at all as sustainable as they claim, whereas buying a used item is an act of recycling in itself.
Nowadays, our economic and environmental predicament only seems to go downhill, taking us and the entire planet with them. But if all of us make more practical, frugal, and sustainable lifestyle choices like buying secondhand products, we would surely have a fighting chance.