It’s Good To Share: Reclaimed is Greener Than Recycled

People don’t like to say it, but recycling takes energy, which more often than not means using non-renewable sources of energy production such as fossil fuels. While cleaner energy providers are available, and will produce electricity from renewable sources, very often recycling ends up dipping into our diminishing cache of resources. By sharing and reclaiming existing items, treasure hunters are finding a way to save the planet, while saving money.

Communities are waking up to the potential of this. When we buy a new item to replace something we are tired of, most of us would not want to throw it out. It only gets chucked in the bin when we don’t know what else to do. While many objects can be melted down or stripped for useful materials, some just need a bit of sanding, a lick of paint or varnish, and some TLC before they can look right at home in somebody else’s living room.

Digging through junk shops is great, and you can find some interesting stuff, but with the internet a useful and wider-reaching resource, online communities are starting to build where you can share an unwanted furniture item for someone to pick up and make use of, such as Freecycle. Most people would be glad that their teak dresser was going to a good home and being used by someone who needed it. In return, when this person is done with it, or has something else to get rid of, they pay the favour forward, allowing someone else to get hold of a great item.

This process bypasses one of the more shameful aspects of our society, the constant and wasteful consumption of newly produced goods that use up resources that could have been saved by reuse. We buy new, according to manufactured trends, and chuck out the old. Sharing communities are finding a new way of procuring what they need without robbing the planet while saving themselves a tidy packet at the same time. It’s a sensible choice and a leap forward in environmentally aware acquisition of material goods. Furthermore, it allows people to pass on their once new objects to those who need them more.

This sort of pooling of resources works in a similar way to other online businesses like eBay but bypasses the monetary aspect. There are no bidding wars, the first person who answers and can pick it up gets it, be it a new bed, wardrobe, or exercise bike. It’s a great way of simplifying your life by decluttering, while helping your fellow human beings, and not damaging the environment, all at the same time. Since you can search for offers in your area, you can be sure it’s something you can fetch yourself. No more paying delivery charges for an item to be ferried half way across the continent.

If you no longer have a use for something, but think somebody else would, don’t bin it, share it. Everybody wins.

Image courtesy of flickr.com/photos/zapthedingbat

Glen Rogers is a junk shop scavenger and likes collecting vintage and antique rarities. When not in junk shope he blogs about sustainability and green energy issues for BusinessElectricityPrices.org.uk

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