Overconsumption causes unnecessary waste and other negative environmental impacts. But you can help by contributing to the circular economy. Swapping, sharing, thrifting, and repairing items, rather than buying new, are easy ways to reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money, and support your local community.
Extending the life of an item is easier than it may seem. And there are so many alternatives to buying new. Visit local thrift shops and libraries, attend a repair workshop, watch a tutorial video, or check out your municipality’s loaning programs. Learn more about why it matters below.
Waste Reduction Week
Take Action in Your Community
Swapping is a fun way to keep resources in use for as long as possible. Plus, organizing swap events helps to foster community engagement and inspires others to reduce their impact, too. Here’s how:
Social: Brings neighbours together and makes used items easily accessible for everyone.
Environmental: Gives clothing and other products second lives, reduces the environmental impacts involved in making new items, and avoids the impacts of disposal.
Economical: Allows people to find new and unique items at no or low cost.
Sharing and borrowing programs let you try something new without spending money. Tool lending libraries, municipal recreation departments, and public libraries throughout the province have a wide selection of items that can be borrowed. Sharing also reduces the packaging waste associated with buying new.
There are many items waiting to be borrowed:
Sporting goods: Bicycles, walking poles, snowshoes, cross country skis, tennis racquets
Technology: Computers, podcast equipment, light therapy lamps, telescopes, pedometers
Outdoor recreation: Camping equipment, outdoor toys, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards
We all like to buy new things, but you can lessen your environmental impact by buying second-hand. Thrifting just one shirt versus buy it new can save 700 gallons of water. Clothing, shoes, and accessories are the most popular items to thrift, but that's not all. Tech gadgets, baby accessories, furniture, snow gear, sporting equipment, and appliances can all be thrifted.
Many thrift stores are run as social enterprises, which support and provide revenue for social causes, non-profit organizations, and charities. For example, member organizations of the DirectioNS Council promote abilities and inclusion of persons with disabilities. Throughout Nova Scotia, sixteen DirectioNS Council member agencies run thrift shops that provide work experience for their clients. When you thrift, you are not only finding great deals and reducing waste, but you are also supporting your community.
When something breaks, replacing it might seem like the best option. However, purchasing a new item to replace an almost functional one has become too common—and our landfills are filling up fast. Often, a simple repair can extend the life of an object and eliminate the need to buy brand new. There are many resources for minor repairs, such as video tutorials, workshops, repair cafes, and local repair businesses. Repairing also presents knowledge-sharing and mentorship opportunities, which can strengthen our local communities.