At my core, I am a thrifter. Thrifting is the whole reason I even became aware of fast fashion and sustainability issues. And some things you should never buy new.
Buying used helps us create a more circular economy. A circular economy helps us to eliminate waste by continually using and reusing resources. You can think of thrifting like recycling in away. You’re reusing and repurposing something and saving it from ending up in a landfill.
It’s also great to buy second hand because you’re not directly supporting some terrible brands. I’ve definitely bought fast fashion brands from the thrift store, but I feel ok doing so because my money isn’t going into forever21’s pocket or supporting their unfair and unsustainable practices. But I am keeping textiles out of the landfill.
Here are 10 things you should never buy new:
If you’ve ever been to a thrift store then you know that thy always have an abundance of dishes. A lot of the time they have complete matching sets which is amazing.
Second-hand dishes have more character, flare, and are way cheaper than finding some dishes at Ikea or Walmart. Plus you’re saving them from the landfill and not creating excess demand by buying them new.
Jars are a staple in the zero waste community. They’re great for storing things, DIYs, and bulk shopping. But you can always find jars second hand. Even better, save your jars from things you buy like pasta sauce, or ask friends for their when they’re empty!
Even as a minimalist and a zero waster, nothing beats the feeling of a physical book. But books are made of paper and paper is made from trees so you see where I’m going with this.
Second-hand books already exist! No more paper has to be made to create them. You’re not exhausting any more resources by buying used books. And you can find just about any book second-hand online!
4. Toys/Baby stuff
I don’t have a baby, but I know thrift stores are full of baby stuff. And the truth is babies and children grow out of toys and clothes so quickly that it almost doesn’t seem financially smart to be buying everything new for them.
5. Seasonal decor
Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, blow-up lawn ornaments, and everything in between can be found second hand! Most holiday and seasonal decor consist of plastic, tacky items that are out of style the next season anyway. Save your money and save them from the landfill by purchasing them second hand!
Movies are another physical item that I love to own. I just really don’t want to live 100% digitally. But that’s just me! Movies, DVDs, Blu Rays, can all be found second hand. Just make sure to check the disks for significant damage before you purchase!
I don’t think I need to tell you that leather is made from animals. But I don’t support the leather industry at all. That being said, buying it second-hand doesn’t directly support the leather industry. And if it’s not bought it runs the risk of ending up in a landfill which doesn’t do anybody any good either. I don’t actively seek out leather when I’m thrifting but if I come across it and like the piece, I don’t feel bad purchasing it.
Speaking of animals, I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to buy animals “new”. By animals, I mean pets. And I’m not suggesting that pets are used or second-hand but what I am saying is, please don’t buy from a breeder. Please go to an animal shelter and adopt an animal that will otherwise die or spend its life in a cage.
Breeders are only in it for the money. They are creating life when there are millions of animals in shelters that are often put to death just because they can’t find them a home. Please adopt an animal if you’re looking for a pet.
A lot of resources, manpower, and effort goes into making cars. A lot of car parts are often manufactured unsustainably and unethically, and about a quarter of the carbon dioxide that vehicles produce during their lifetime is used during manufacturing and the initial shipment.
Plus they’re a lot cheaper, and again, you’re not creating demand for a whole new car.
I’d need an entire post to go over why technology is bad for the planet so I’ll try and sum it up here. Phones, cameras, computers, game consoles, etc, are often made from non-renewable resources like gold, and other metals making them unrecyclable. They also contain hazardous materials that affect our planet when they’re thrown away and (almost always) not recycled properly.
Manufacturing technology and electronics also create a ton of waste that impacts our trees, soil, and water systems. A lot of forests and animal land is also used to create larger factories.
And let’s not forget the consumerist aspect. The ned to get the latest iPhone, or laptop, or tv when we still have perfectly good working electronics. These pieces of technology are discarded when they still have a long life to live. Or, when they could easily be fixed up.
By purchasing technology second hand, you’re eliminating the need for more resources, waste, and hazardous materials to be used. Those resources have already been spent. The damage has been done. And now you can keep them out of the landfill by purchasing them used.
These are just 10 things you should never buy new. While it’s not a crime to buy these things new, I understand that some times it can’t be avoided. But if you can, I strongly recommend not buying these things new. Used is always better, for the planet and for your wallet.
As always, thank you for reading! Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living inspiration!