Sustainability in used goods

By Leziga Barikor

The question of sustainability in making purchasing decisions has grown more in popularity among consumers. There are many different options in this expanding market, but the classic option will always be shopping for used goods. This can also be the most cost effective because new sustainable brands tend to lean towards more expensive with the cost of making products using recycled material and to fairly compensate labor.

Used goods are now more easy to access than ever. The resources that used to be primarily limited by location are now available online as well.

See our conversation about thrift shopping here.

Purpose of secondhand shopping

There is great potential for thrift shopping and secondhand purchasing to be sustainable.

Shopping local

Going local to shop can be the best option for most people. Online shopping will still have the expense of paying the cost of shipping. Here are some guidelines to help make the most of shopping for used goods locally.

Salvation Army

The well known Salvation Army has many potential benefits to using because their programs are locally based. Shopping at the Salvation Army is a way to lesson waste and invest locally into the community. They are spread all over the world and their website can be used to find nearest stores.

Goodwill

They are very similar to the Salvation Army in mode and meaning. They run community programs as well as having thrift store and donation centers.

Consignment Shops

These are slightly different from the above because local consignment shops are more likely to curate items. This is where the sustainability issue becomes more prevalent. It is up to the people making donations to cull through their items, and it is easier at bigger consignment shops to just make mass donations of items that may not even be usable.

Places like Plato’s Closet or other local chains who offer to buy gently used items are careful to choose items that have reuse value. Without this added burden, it becomes easier to avoid mass disposals of unwanted/used items.

But it is still up to the consumer or donation giver to do their homework and figure out how to properly discard of items that are no longer fit for donation or make sure that the store they are selling their items to have a record of recycling left over items as opposed to ultimately throwing them away.

Shopping online

Although their may be some additional costs to shopping secondhand online, there are new added benefits in options. These are some of the best options.

Facebook Market, eBay, ect.

The online market of selling and reselling items is growing vastly. Some key popular sites have been eBay and Craigslist. But Facebook Market which targets those who are already browsing their website has a lot of potential to be bigger than any of the long-standing ones.

For better or worse, people do trust Facebook as a platform a great deal. There’s just about anything on the Facebook Market a person could want, and since people are posting these items with accounts it leaves an online digital trail that is far more substantial.

It’s the closest to an online flea market as users are selling to other users and anonymity is replaced for the causal web interaction. And like Craigslist, user can choose between local and far listings depending on how far they want to go for their new used items.

ThredUP

This online consignment shop allows customers to purchase and sell their clothing items to them directly. They often run sales and have features like clothing boxes for people interested in trying multiple items at once. They are also committed to changing the fashion industry and are working on a Circular Fashion Fund non-profit to help fund more sustainable fashion practices.

PoshMark

In a unique category of its own is Poshmark. The site boast two billion and 25 million uploads. This is a social commerce site that allows people to buy and sell new to used clothing and accessories.

Social media is the main marketing tool for people trying to sell on Poshmark. Unlike places like thredUP the marking and selling of items is all on the users.

For people who may be nervous about buying online and buying secondhand online especially, Poshmark puts a lot of its stock in verifying items and protecting both buyers and sellers from dis-satisfactory transactions.

Shop less

Ultimately the best way to be sustainable in purchasing decisions is to make the decision to purchase items less. It will take a lot of time for this to make an impact, but consumers must communicate to the fast fashion industry and those related that not every season is a reason to shop.

The less money put into the industry, the less incentive they have to continue to spin out the same quantity of items at a high rate.

Not only is the option the most cost friendly, it can help foster deeper gratitude. A shift from the mindset of wanting more to having what is already there will naturally foster gratefulness.

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