Due to climate change and the effects our choices have on its impact, we are making more eco-friendly choices when we shop. This includes secondhand items, which creates its own secondhand circular economy.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is a ‘systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.’ To do this both production and consumption must be carried out in a way that allows materials to be reused, recycled, repaired and refurbished.
To make it circular the materials
must never make it to landfill.
In our average economic practices, goods are made, bought, used and thrown away. This leads to a linear economy. To make it circular the materials must never make it to landfill and must be used again. Either in the same way or to produce something new.
Buying and selling second hand produces a circular economy, as items do not end up on landfill when we no longer want them. Instead, they end up in charity, vintage, and secondhand shops, that give them a new lease of life when they are sold.
Secondhand shops also tend to refurbish unwanted items, to fix them up or to turn them into something else, so the life of the item continues.
Next time you need to buy something new, or you want to get rid of something, look at buying, selling or donating to a shop that handles secondhand goods.
The cycle can start again when you no longer want the item you have purchased as you can donate or sell it again as long as it is still in a good condition. If not, it may still be able to be refurbished or used to produce something else.