“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Well, you can say that again. The saying is fairly true when it comes to most things. There’s no limit to what people will throw away nowadays, a symptom of our inclination toward over-consumption.
We all have too much stuff. Even if you think you’ve slimmed your closet or house down quite a bit, we could always do more. Doing a large clean out, or de-clutter, is a great thing to do to clear out your home and mind. These items are still perfectly good … just not for you anymore. Which makes having a huge garage sale or donating whatever you have left a great way to minimize the excess in your life and do a great thing for others in the process
But do you find yourself in quite the opposite situation? Well, there’s a less-wasting option and it goes by the name of your local thrift shop! When you purchase a gently-used item, you’re helping to keep items in circulation rather than just throwing it out into a landfill right after you’re done with it. Thrifting, as we call it, it the ultimate way to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”!
Antique Furniture is Greener than the Modern Day Equivalent
In the study, it shows the difference between the manufacturing of an antique set of chest of drawers and a modern set of chest of drawers. What we see is that the greenhouse gas emissions from creating and shipping the modern chest of drawers versus the antique chest of drawers is significantly differnt. The results show the total carbon footprint including manufacturing and shipping for an antique chest of drawers is 139.6kg CO2e over a 180 year lifetime. Comparatively, a modern day chest of drawers has a total carbon footprint of 170.38 kg CO2e in a 15 year lifetime.
When you do the math to get the average for both pieces of furniture, it shows that an antique chest of drawers has an annual carbon footprint of 0.72kg CO2e, compared to 11.36kg CO2e per year for the brand new chest of drawers. The new chest of drawers has a carbon footprint of 16 times more than the antique. The antique chest of drawers is also significantly lighter than the modern one. This impacts the shipping aspect of the drawers. The heavier the load, the more it costs to ship.
A survey of 2,000 people by an online marketplace that sells antiques found that 62 percent of people do not think about sustainability and the impact that buying their new furniture may have on the environment. Many shoppers don’t think about buying furniture that doesn’t negatively impact the environment, but 67 percent of shoppers would like to buy their furniture from an environmentally-friendly source, and 60 percent of people believe buying antiques is a good way to repurpose and recycle furniture or other household items. 68 percent of people also think that buying antiques are a good way to actually help out the environment. Believe it or not, these people are correct. Instead of throwing those household items out into a landfill, they end up in someone else’s hands. A recent survey by an online antique marketplace has revealed that buying antiques is the most environmentally friendly way to shop for your home. In reality, only 29 percent of us think about the environmental impact our purchases have when buying furniture, and 42 percent of people haven’t been deterred from buying from the big retailers.
But the times may be changing.
Why Should You Buy Antiques?
The largest and most obvious reason is how great for the environment it is. The less that makes it’s way to the landfill, the better! That’s the plain and simple answer.
If You’re Looking For a Vintage Feel, Use Vintage Decor
How much more simple can it get? Instead of buying mass produced ‘vintage’ pieces, go buy the originals! You would be surprised what trendy items you could find around an antique or thrift shop.
Gather Materials for all of Those Pinterest Projects you Pinned
You know all those DIY pins you’ve had your eye on lately? Go get started on them! There’s no need to go buy a brand new crib if all you’re going to do is re-purpose it into a bench, or go buy a brand new bookshelf just to repaint it and make a few adjustments. This isn’t just great for the environment, it’s great for your wallet too!
Find That Sweet Elvis Presley Album For Your Vinyl Collection
There’s tons of records to be scoured through at an antique or thrift shop. Maybe you could find that one Elvis Presley vinyl you couldn’t find all those years ago. There’s more than just furniture to look through!
Help Charities All While Looking Through Great Finds
Many thrift stores contribute to local and national charities. They all do it in many different ways. While you’re helping to save the environment, they’re helping charities in need! It’s no coincidence that in Ireland, the term “thrift store” doesn’t even exist—they call them “charity shops” instead. In the United States, the best-known thrift stores are Goodwill and The Salvation Army, organizations which provide services to the unemployed, homeless, and disabled. It’s a win-win all around.
It’s Not Just for Landfills, Think of All the Emissions That Aren’t Being Produced!
Think of thrifting as the farmer’s market of non-food consumer goods. When an item is manufactured, there are a certain amount of emissions produced in the creation and shipping of said item. Because the item you purchase second hand doesn’t come with all the shipping and running around, you’re cutting those emissions out when you buy those jeans second hand.
Thrifting is cheaper. Thrifting helps the environment. What two better reasons do you need to start checking out your local thrift and antique shops? More money in your pocket makes you happier, and less emissions and overflowing landfills makes the environment happier! What are you waiting for? Start thrifting!