How Does Buying Second Hand Items Help Save the Environment?

If you've never gone second-hand shopping, you're missing out! There's nothing better than finding that one-of-a-kind hidden gem. Whether it's a like-new apple watch, a used coat from decades past, or a midcentury-style furniture piece fit for a showroom, discovering a fantastic pre-owned piece is a high like no other! Just ask any savvy thrifter.

But buying second-hand is about more than just getting an Instagram-worthy vintage find. It also does a lot to help our environment, and let's face it: The world can use a little help.

While convenient, mass production of goods is a scourge to the planet! In the last couple of decades, manufacturing wreaked havoc on the earth, and we're starting to pay the price.

Fortunately, people are beginning to open their eyes to the beauty of second-hand shopping. Not only can you uncover killer finds, but you can save the planet!

Still not convinced? Here are just a few ways that shopping second-hand can make a difference in the environment.


1. It Creates Less Waste

image of truck dumping a bunch of trash in a landfill

Have you ever seen what kinds of things end up in a landfill? Most people are so accustomed to the convenience of collection services that they fail to consider just how much waste they're creating.

Seriously: Driving by a landfill and seeing building-sized piles of garbage is pretty traumatic. According to the EPA, the United States produced about 292.4 million tons of waste in 2018 alone!

Of course, some of that garbage is decomposable. But imagine how much of it is reusable! For example, about 17 million tons of that earlier figure were textiles, one of the easiest things to recycle or reuse.

It's a bummer how many perfectly reusable items end up in landfills these days. As the old saying goes, one's person's junk is another person's treasure, right? Second-hand shopping can do a lot to reduce waste.

But that's not all. It works both ways. Selling your stuff is just as good for the environment as buying something preowned. You're essentially re-homing your unwanted goods, preventing someone else from having to purchase new and ensuring that your items don't end up as waste.

It's a win-win all-around! Imagine how much cleaner NYC would be if we all just bought and sold items to each other.

2. New Clothes Produce More Pollution

factories producing pollution

Another way that second-hand shopping benefits the environment is that it produces less pollution. The process of manufacturing new products is rough on the environment. There's no getting around that!

Even the most eco-conscious company will create pollution in some way. That could be through the production or extraction of raw materials, toxic chemicals that inevitably make their way back to the environment, or even the amount of energy used to run machines.

That's not even considering the impact of transporting materials and finished goods worldwide. Take fast fashion as an example. Most of those cheap clothes you get at the mall are made in Asian or Middle Eastern countries before getting delivered to your local stores.

Believe it or not, fast fashion produces more carbon emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined! And that's just clothes. Imagine the negative impact of furniture or consumer electronics.

When you buy second-hand goods, you're doing your part to avoid contributing to that mess. You might not feel like you're making a huge difference, but those saved emissions add up. Buying used saves about 17 pounds of new CO2 emissions per purchase.

Lovd has already saved about 7,000 pounds of CO2 to date!

3. It Preserves Our Natural Resources

With every chopped-down forest and ruined ecosystem, Mother Nature weeps.

character that looks made out of nature

Buying new products increases demand, resulting in even more mass production. Unfortunately, manufacturing goods takes its toll on the environment.

Natural resources are already scarce as it is. Did you know that scientists estimate we have less than 50 years of oil left on the planet if we continue using it at the rate we are now? That's right: You could end up experiencing an oil shortage in your lifetime!

Contrary to popular belief, it's not gas-guzzling cars that are the only issue. We need oil for plastic. Take a look around, and you can likely identify hundreds of plastic-based products in your home.

Manufacturing ruins other natural resources, too. Wood products lead to deforestation, the devastation of entire ecosystems, and even the disruption of indigenous people. The same goes for the mining operations required to gather precious metals for electronics.

Once again, buying used saves the day and ensures that you're helping decrease the demand for new goods production.

4. Thrifting is More Ethical and Sustainable

gif of young sheldon saying "I'm struggling with an ethical crisis."

We hate to be a downer, but buying new isn't always an ethical choice. No one wants to think about that during a shopping spree, but it's a sad reality of mass production.

Many products you use every day came to be by ethically questionable means. It's not uncommon for companies often exploit workers in emerging countries. What's worse is that they often go out of their way to hide that fact.

Pair that with the environmentally damaging manufacturing processes, and buying new products feels like a lesson in morality! It doesn't have to be that way.

Buying used is a far more ethical and sustainable route. You can feel good about your purchase and know that you're doing what you can to help the planet and stop unethical production practices.

5. Buying Used Saves on Energy

gif of seth green saying help the planet

As a whole, the production of new goods is a vicious cycle of waste and pollution. Think about how much energy it takes to create a single product.

We're talking tons of burned coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, etc. Unfortunately, most of the energy used is non-renewable and super polluting.

On top of all that, consider how much energy it takes to get those goods to you. The transportation sector uses about a fourth of the world's energy production, and a big part of that is moving products.

Don't contribute to energy waste any more than you have to. Buying used items does a lot to save energy. Plus, the savings keep going if you decide to sell later.

6. Selling and Purchasing Preowned Items Helps to Foster a Community

gif of outdoor farmers market

Finally, second-hand shopping can do a lot to help foster a sense of community.

Buying new products can feel so empty. Those goods came from a factory, and you can likely find a million just like it. But that vintage radio or one-of-a-kind dress? That has some story to it!

There's something magical about buying something from someone else. You can learn more about it and understand its history. Meanwhile, you get to meet interesting people and be a part of something bigger than you. Who doesn't want that?

Buying and selling to your community can help you connect with others in ways you never thought possible. Look at Lovd! The marketplace platform makes it super easy to find unique pre-owned products.

The team at Lovd has an ongoing challenge to see who can buy the least new stuff. The founder and CEO of Lovd, Noah Elion, always encourages fellow New Yorkers to get in on the challenge and join this growing movement of second-hand shopping bliss!

Treat Yourself and the Planet! Shop Sustainably With Lovd

gif of moira rose saying there's nothing wrong with treating yourself, dear

At Lovd, you can feel good about treating yourself to a shopping session! With climate change and ever-rising debt levels, buying used is bound to become the default. So why shouldn't second-hand shopping be as easy as buying new goods from Amazon?

The Lovd marketplace makes circular commerce accessible to the masses. Browse listings, negotiate a suitable price, and get your goodies delivered in 24 hours.

Have stuff you no longer need? Use Lovd to find those items a new home. Do it all in the app and be a part of this movement on your terms.

Thanks to Lovd, you can shop sustainably, discover unique hidden gems, and make every day Earth Day!