Monday, March 29, 2010

Buying and selling preowned items

Selling items you already own can accommodate many green goals. First of all, you can reduce what you own by selling it (less ownership means less management, maintenance, and storage). If you renew items by cleaning or doing minor repairs, you can increase your sales. Many items can be reused before they wear out such as clothing or small appliances. Some items can be sold for materials and recycled.

There's another major benefit, the buyers can purchase items at a cost that they might not be able to afford otherwise. So not only are sellers making sustainable choices, so are the buyers.

So all around, the age-old adage is still true - one man's junk is another man's treasure. By selling or trading wares, we can prevent sending those items going to the landfill.

There are many forms of resell. Have you ever bought a pre-owned car (formerly known as "used" car)? Have you ever bought from secondhand book shops, garage sales, newspaper classified ads, and consignment shops. Along those same lines are antique shows, pawn shops, and auctions. Online the options are available in different forms like Craig's list, eBay, and the used items sold through Amazon.

When I am deciding whether or not to buy a pre-owned item I try to determine if this item fits my sustainability goals.  
  • Is this item worth what it costs?  
  • Is the item made well with quality products that were produced in an eco-friendly way?
  • Do I have the skill or inclination to maintain or repair the item?
  • When I am ready to dispose of this item is there a way to recycle the raw materials?
  • Will I use this item soon and often?
  • Is this item enticing because it is really what I want or just because it is available?
I have been able to drastically reduce my spending by asking myself these questions. Not only am I spending less money these days, I am making better long-term decisions.  I can now equate 3-4 small purchases to one large purchase that is made well, will last, is the style I want, and has the green features that I value. That's a sustainable solution that anyone can implement.