As a frugal shopper, you may purchase used items as a means to stretch your dollar. That’s great, but if buying used isn’t really your thing, consider the moral implications and you might just change your mind. Where, how, and what you spend your money on matters in this world. Not convinced? Think about the environment and slave labor.
When you buy something used, it means you didn’t buy that same thing new, reducing the demand for the new product. New products have multiple affects on the environment. When you add in all the production factors like manufacturing, materials, and shipment, you’re already reducing carbon emissions simply by not buying something new.
Additionally, you’re saving something used from just being thrown away, adding to already full landfills. A higher demand for used goods means people tend to think twice before tossing that old book or holey pair of jeans in the trash. Whether they donate those goods to a thrift store that supports a worthy cause, like ARC or Better World Books, or they sell those goods to a reseller like Half Price Books or Clothes Mentor, people who gather a bag of items they no longer want during spring cleaning can feel good about NOT throwing those items in the garbage.
Even items some people don’t think are usable can be seen as a treasure by individuals who have found the joy of expressing their creativity through repurposing items. Those holey jeans become a purse, and that old wakeboard a bench. Repurposing works in favor of the environment in a two-fold way: providing new products without manufacturing and keeping old items out of landfills.
Reducing the demand for slave labor
Do you know how those new shoes or that new blouse came to be? What were the conditions of the factory where they were made? What are the stories of the individuals who work in that factory? Just because a piece of merchandise bears a brand name tag doesn’t mean it was produced under humane circumstances. To keep from supporting companies that are built on slave labor or child labor, you have three options: Research every company and factory for every purchase you make to ensure you are supporting corporations who treat their workers well, buy used items and never send your money directly to those organizations, or make your own stuff.
Overall, if you were to ask the average person on the street if they wanted to contribute to the slave labor industry, they would say, “No”. But when it comes down to doing the work of preventing such industries from succeeding, most people just don’t want to put in the effort. Buying used items addresses both of these tendencies in a way consumers can work into their daily lives. It’s a step above wearing an awareness bracelet or sharing a Facebook post. It’s putting your money where your mouth is.
So hit up those garage sales, estate sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. Make Craigslist the home page on your browser. Buy used with a clear conscience and a fuller wallet.