Buying Gently Used for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

Blog Contributor: Allegra Caballero 

Brock is a Living Planet @ Campus partner with WWF-Canada, giving students the opportunity to become a Living Planet Leader. This nationally recognized self-guided certification can be earned through conservative and sustainable initiatives made during students’ post-secondary careers. To earn the certification, students must complete 4 category requirements:

Leadership & Teamwork: this category requires students to get involved in leadership and teamwork—like by joining a club or participating in an event—that has delivery of environmental or sustainable awareness or action.

Application of Sustainability in Academics: this category requires students to take a sustainability or conservation course or apply sustainability to an aspect of existing courses.

Campus, Community or Global Volunteerism: this category requires students to complete 40 volunteer hours in an area related to environment, sustainability or conservation.

Personal Application of Sustainability: this category requires students to demonstrate personal contributions to sustainability by completing 40 actions from a personal checklist.

Living sustainably involves thinking about what goes into making your belongings and what will happen to them after you no longer need them. If you’re looking to make changes to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, consider buying gently used items instead of new. On the personal application checklist, this is #7 (donating gently used items for reuse) and #24 (buying gently used instead of new!)

Why Gently Used?
Buying items gently used has a positive environmental and social impact. Not only does it reduce carbon emissions and lower your carbon-footprint, it also saves a lot of resources such as energy and water. Gently used items usually cost you less money, too. Most importantly, by buying something used you’re preventing it from being thrown away and keeping it out of landfills. This keeps the item’s lifecycle going.

Before You Buy.
It’s important to know where your things come from and how they’re made. When you’re thinking about buying something, do some quick research to find out how and where the item was made (Locally made? Sustainable materials and packaging?) and where it will end up when you’re done using it.

Of course, it’s not always possible to buy everything used, but try your best to make sure you only buy something new when you absolutely need to do so.

What Do I Do When I Don’t Need it Anymore?
If you find that you no longer use or want an item anymore and can’t repurpose and use it for something else, try seeing if a friend or a family member can use it. If they can’t, then donating gently used items (clothing, household, etc.) to charities, donation centres and thrift shops for reuse is the way to go.

If you have something that can’t be donated, disassemble and recycle what you can. If you have an item you aren’t sure how to recycle or dispose of properly, search for it using this tool by the Niagara Region and it will tell you how. Aren’t local to Niagara? Check out your city’s website and see what helpful information they offer on recycling and waste disposal in your area.

To learn more about the Living Planet @ Campus Program at Brock University, click here.