Reduce, Reuse, Save!
Buying used products is cheaper—and better for the environment. Remember this rule: If it’s good for the planet, it’s good for you. And often, it can help you or your family save money. Used items are typically cheaper. And when you buy secondhand, you’re fulfilling the first two rules of living green: Reduce and reuse.
Take a car, for example. A new 2018 Ford Focus S sells for about $20,000. A similar used car from 2015 costs about half that. Maybe its owner put 20,000 miles on the car, causing it to depreciate. But a used car might still be perfect for your family’s needs—and budget.
Think of it this way: Your family saved a car from the junk heap. Not to mention the fact that manufacturing a new car generates a lot of pollution.SOMCHAI SOM—GETTY IMAGES
Trade With Friends
Here’s a fun way to recycle: Trade clothes, toys, and games with friends and family. Organize a swap session. Bring your castoffs and leave with things that are brand-new to you.
Make A Choice
When You Buy New
Say you’re looking to buy a new pair of jeans. They could come with a hefty price tag, plus a high hidden cost to the environment. First, it takes a lot of land and water to grow the cotton used to weave the denim. Then, toxic chemicals are used to dye the denim blue, and even more water is needed to wash it again. Next, the jeans are cut and sewn at a factory that uses energy and releases pollutants into the air. Materials like plastic or paper are used to package the jeans for shipment to a store. And shipping causes more pollution.
When You Buy Used
When you buy secondhand, you do the Earth a favor. You stop that car, those jeans, or that gadget from becoming waste. While some unwanted items are recycled, trash generally goes to a landfill, where it’s buried in the ground, or to an incinerator, where it’s burned. Neither option is good for the environment. Many landfills leak toxic gases and chemicals into the ground, water, and air. Some incinerators have filters to keep dangerous fumes out of the air, but some fumes escape and harm the atmosphere.SOMCHAI SOM—GETTY IMAGES
Look for used clothes at garage sales, thrift stores, and on resale websites like thredUP.com. Tech can have a second life too. Decluttr.com and Gazelle.com fix up and resell phones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets.
The Winner is...
The Buy-Used Movement The good news? Going green is trending. People are becoming more eco-conscious and finding new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The clothing company Madewell encourages shoppers to exchange their old jeans for $20 off a new pair, then helps turn the old denim into housing insulation. Retailers like Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, and GameStop have trade-up programs that allow you to exchange old tech devices for a discount on new ones. And IKEA is testing furniture rental in some cities. In the future, IKEA might even buy furniture back from consumers, then recycle the materials. What do you say: Is buying used in your future? —By Hayden Field
In honor of Earth Day, come up with three things you and your family could do to help the planet. Will the activities save your family money, too? Talk it over.