Overconsumption causes unnecessary waste and other negative environmental impacts. But there are alternatives. Swapping, sharing, and thrifting items, rather than buying brand new, are easy ways to reduce waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money, and support your local community.
By keeping items in use as long as possible, you can write the next chapter of their story. From local thrift shops to borrowing libraries and recreation loan programs, there are many alternatives to buying new.
Why It Matters
Swapping is a fun way to keep resources in use for as long as possible. Plus, organizing swap events helps to foster community and inspires others to reduce their impact, too. Here’s how:
Social: Brings people together to meet their neighbours and makes gently used items 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 make it possible to try something different without purchasing anything new. Tool lending libraries, municipal recreation departments and public libraries throughout the province have a wide selection of items, and many are free! Sharing also reduces the packaging waste associated with buying new. You can find many borrow opportunities in your own backyard.
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 purchasing second-hand. Thrifting just one shirt vs. it buying 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 clothing and accessories, furniture, snow gear, sporting equipment, and appliances can all be thrifted.
Many stores are run by social enterprises and non-profits, too. For example, DirectioNS Council has 14 thrift shops; by shopping there, you can help promote the inclusion of disabled people in their everyday activities.