Learn about the growing secondhand shopping culture in India and why second-hand shopping is a more sustainable way to shop
Secondhand shopping, as the name suggests, refers to buying products that have been used before. These products, commonly called pre-loved are in great condition & haven’t reached the end of their lifespan. Let us understand more about second-hand shopping culture and why second hand shopping is good for us and the planet.
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Secondhand Shopping in India
Using secondhand products has always been a part of Indian culture. A lot of us have used clothes passed down from our older siblings or cousins. Buying secondhand appliances and furniture is also common.
However, buying used fashion has gained popularity only in recent years. In fact, there was a big boom in thrifting & secondhand fashion during the pandemic.
Unfortunately, there’s still a large chunk of people that look down at secondhand shopping. One major reason being the hygiene concerns of using products, especially clothes, that have been used before. However, when a product has been washed well, that shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
Another reason many look down on secondhand shopping is because of status reasons. The whole “what will people think?” argument and that buying secondhand is inferior to buying new. But, that isn’t necessarily the case. Most of us are conditioned to think that way, but it is time to break free.
Maybe big companies are making us think negatively about secondhand goods because they want us to keep buying more, new goods. Thoughts to ponder upon…
Secondhand September and Beyond
Started by Oxfam, Secondhand September is a month-long campaign encouraging people to buy pre-used products. The initiative is great, and it helps build awareness about climate change and sustainable lifestyles.
Even though the campaign is a month-wide celebration, we should follow its practices all through the year. Let’s change the mindset, and work towards becoming more conscious consumers.
What Makes Second Hand Shopping Good?
If you aren’t convinced yet, here are 7 reasons why secondhand shopping is great for you, the economy and the planet.
1. Reduces the Demand for New Products
The world we live in today has embraced consumerism. We keep on buying more and then we throw only to buy some more. As a result, there is an increase in the demand for products that we probably don’t even need all that much. At least when you shop secondhand, you’re not contributing to the increased demand.
This mostly applies to fashion. Fast fashion comes at a heavy price. Underpaid employees working under unsafe conditions and child labour are a few things we pay for when we buy from these brands. Yet, fast fashion brands are thriving. Buying pre-loved clothes helps support slow fashion culture over fast fashion consumption.
2. Find Unique Buys
A great perk of secondhand shopping is finding one-of-a-kind treasures. Whether it’s fashion, furniture, electronics or appliances. Either you will find an expensive, otherwise inaccessible product at an unbelievable price. Or you will find a rare vintage that no one else will have. There is also a thrill you get from searching for and finding these great buys.
3. Easier on your wallet
Without a doubt, pre-owned goods are more affordable. You can find or strike unbelievable deals. Plus, if you are a big one for branded products, you can get them at much lower prices by buying secondhand.
4. Support Small, Ethical Businesses
By shopping from thrift stores or any store that sells pre-loved products, you are supporting a small business. Wouldn’t you rather put money in the hands of change-makers and small businesses than big
corporations? We say you should.
5. Extend the Lifespan of Products
When you buy a pre-owned product, you are giving it a new lease on life. In many cases, the product would have otherwise headed straight for the landfills. Extending its lifespan keeps it in the loop for longer, and just proves that one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
6. Promotes a Circular Economy
A circular economy is one where there is less waste created, better use of resources and conscious efforts being made towards circulating resources.
When you buy secondhand, you’re not only reducing waste by buying something that would have otherwise been disposed of. It is also about avoiding a brand new purchase that would’ve led to more waste created.
7. Feel-Good Factor
Finally, when you know the decisions you make as a consumer are making a difference, it feels beyond great! Over time, the products you have thrifted or shopped second hand, these pieces will become a matter of pride for you.
Ultimately, secondhand shopping is something we all need to indulge in, especially for the sake of our planet. When you shop secondhand, you get to stand out, feel good, and do your part — all at once!
Rhea is a freelance content writer. She recently began her journey to a sustainable lifestyle and is looking forward to sharing her experiences. She’s a foodie and never misses out on any opportunity to cook & bake for her friends & family. As long as she has great food & a notebook to pen down her thoughts, she is happy.