8 Reliable Places You Can Look to Jump on the “Reuse” Bandwagon Today
By Chee Vang
As a kid, you heard it all the time. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Your parents and teachers convinced you that was the secret to saving the planet.
You learned all about Reduce. Like reducing food waste at the dinner table. Your mom reminding you every five minutes to finish your peas.
You’ve also got the basics of Recycling down.
On weekends, you would help your dad break down cardboard boxes to stuff into the large, blue Recycle bin.
But has anyone actually taught you how to Reuse?
And is it as important as Reduce and Recycle?
What Does It Mean to Reuse?
Reuse simply means to own something used before by someone else. Or, repurposing an item you already own or upcycling it into something new.
One of the easiest and best ways to reuse is by buying items you need second-hand instead of new.
Used Clothes. Books. Electronics. Furniture. The possibilities of what you can find second-hand are endless.
But does buying pre-owned stuff have that big of an environmental impact?
How Reuse Helps the Earth
- Keeps Things Out of Landfills
Every day, people throw away tons of unwanted items that are still in great condition for reuse.
These items collect in landfills and emit toxic methane gas and carbon dioxide. Both of which pollute the air and contribute to climate change.
Take clothing, for example.
Did you know that for every piece of clothing made, at least 87% of it will end up in a landfill or incinerator?
Think of every t-shirt, sweater, sock or pair of jeans sitting in your dresser right now. Every piece of clothing you own. That means more than half of each garment will end up in the trash.
Tossing quality, reusable items is a huge waste of the Earth’s finite resources. And it only speeds up global warming.
Buy used goods or sell your own to keep items out of landfills, extend their life cycle and keep the Earth clean.
- Lowers the Demand for New Items
Environmental experts agree that reusing things is one of the most effective ways to protect the Earth.
By choosing to reuse, you use products that are already made and lower the demand for producing new items.
Reuse eliminates the need to create an item from scratch.
Instead of ordering a cheap, new t-shirt from fast fashion, why not thrift a unique and timeless piece?
Because more often than not, the price tag you see in the store doesn’t reflect the true cost of things.
That is, the true cost of making something new is the extraction and depletion of raw materials. Manufacturing a single new product also requires immense energy usage and human labor.
Transporting the new item further emits greenhouse gases and adds to packaging waste.
So, be intentional with your purchases. You can buy and sell second-hand to create powerful, positive environmental change today.
Where To Reuse Online
With social media and so many shops going digital, it’s now easier than ever to thrift online.
Along with all the environmental pros, an added benefit of Reuse is it’s great for your wallet!
People sell a majority of used items at a reduced price. You’ll be saving money, and you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for without all the waste.
Here are 8 places you can look online to get started buying and selling second-hand now.
- Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is a convenient platform to browse local sellers. Most items listed are available for local pick-up so you skip having to wait or pay for shipping.
A quick way to start buying and selling used goods on Facebook is to join resale groups for your city or county. Use the search function in these groups to find a specific item.
People like to post their used furniture, electronics, clothing, books, etc. for sale. Sometimes you can even find these items listed as ‘Free’.
Think, giant yard sale. Driving all across town to find what you need not required.
You’re saving time and money. And most importantly, you’re keeping reusable goods out of landfills!
You get to save the Earth from the comfort of your own home.
Craigslist is another excellent resource to buy or sell local second-hand products.
The specific categories on the front page make it simple to browse and find exactly what you need.
Looking to buy a used guitar? Check out the ‘musical instruments’ tag. Or if you need second-hand golf gear there’s a ‘sporting’ category.
It’s also a common place to look for larger items to reuse such as refrigerators, boats, bikes, cars and car parts, etc.
Reuse to keep items that are difficult to dispose of out of the trash.
Shop for used goods worldwide on Ebay.
You can place bids on pre-owned electronics, clothing, books, household goods and collectibles. Or, skip Ebay’s auction system and buy and sell on Ebay at a fixed price instead.
You get to choose how you want to Reuse.
The site also accepts all major cards and Paypal which makes buying and selling items easy.
Depop is the perfect place to find pre-loved vintage pieces and like-new clothing. You can also find books, accessories and collectibles.
Sellers post photos of themselves styling their used clothing and gain a following. Follow people whose style matches your own and buy the items listed in their posts.
Start selling items you no longer use today and gain your own following. Or buy second-hand to support the Reuse movement.
ThredUp is another dependable platform to find name brand and pre-loved clothes.
Use the filter feature to shop by brand, size, color and material to find exactly what you’re looking for. Or, sell your clothing to keep them from ending up in landfills.
An added benefit is ThredUp ships its clothing in recyclable and reusable mailers. So you can also combat plastic waste while shopping.
Poshmark is most well-known for being an online platform to thrift designer pieces.
Shop used clothing from popular brands as well as home decor and even beauty products.
Like Depop, it’s easy to buy and sell second-hand on Poshmark. All you have to do is snap a quick photo of your used item. Share the listing across social media for more exposure and sell your items to help others Reuse.
- Visit Your Local Thrift Store
Many second-hand shops nowadays have social media accounts and websites. Here you get to see updated listings of items for sale.
A quick Google search would be able to tell you if your local shop is available online.
Whether you’re looking for used furniture, clothes or home decor, your local thrift store is a great place to start.
- Ask Your Family and Friends
Reach out to your connections online. Ask your family for any furniture or used kitchen goods that may be taking up unwanted space in their homes.
Have fun with Reuse and plan a socially-distanced clothing or book swap with your friends.
Your aunt may be looking to upgrade to the newest iPhone and her current one is still in perfect condition. Ask to keep it.
By reusing, you extend the life cycle of goods that use up a lot of resources to manufacture new. And you keep more items out of landfills which helps the Earth stay clean.
Be Safe When Buying and Selling
A small but essential tip is to be safe and always follow buying and selling best practices.
If you are picking up an item, try to bring someone with you if possible. Only meet sellers in an area that you’re familiar with preferably during the daytime.
Never give out personal or sensitive information both online or in person.
Trust your gut. If someone’s behavior makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s best to be safe and stop contacting them.
Reuse is a fun, practical and easy way to reduce your environmental footprint.
So now you know how to reuse and where to look.
Before you go out today and buy something new, consider if it’s something that you can find second-hand.
The planet and your wallet will thank you.
Author Bio: Chee Vang is a freelance Sustainability Copywriter who, as an indigenous person, advocates for inclusive and accessible environmentalism. When not writing, Chee enjoys running, taking care of her houseplants and drawing.