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.
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 shopping second hand, 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!
Remember to put your own unwanted items up for sale, either yourself or by donating them to a thrift store.
Why does it matter?
Less is more! If you don’t have to replace something with a brand new item, replacing it with something that has been pre-used and pre-loved is a great option. If you can cut back on the consumerism associated with buying new, then definitely do so - as we spoke about yesterday, every time you can give an item some more use before replacing it, you're reducing the raw materials needed to make those replacements. Buying second hand means we get to share the load!
Myth-busting: Buying second-hand means you can’t afford new
This myth is being busted left, right and centre. More and more people are buying second hand because they do not want to contribute to the ever-increasing demand for new products. And so many people love sharing their pre-loved items with others who will appreciate them as much as they did.
Who can I follow?
When Facebook introduced its “Marketplace”, it changed the way we browse and purchase second hand - it's never been easier to buy and sell from your home! Locally, also have a look at Second Hand on Facebook. With markets taking place almost every weekend in the Cape Town region, this is a great place to buy your second hand goods and clothing, and spend some time out of the house.
Both TEARS and the SPCA have charity stores that you can support. And then we have the usual services too - Gumtree, the classifieds section of your local newspaper, thrift stores, hospice stores, garage sales, etc.
Take the 28 Day Challenge! Make your Ocean Pledge!
This post is part of the #28DayOceanPledgeChallenge! You can find the other 27 posts and challenges on the Two Oceans Aquarium website, or by signing up for the Challenge newsletter below to receive one challenge a day for 28 days: