Buy Nothing New

A few people in San Francisco have formed a “Compact” to buy nothing new for the whole year (except food and underwear, of course). They can buy refurbished furniture, electronics; secondhand dishware and clothes. It’s a challenge they believe in, and are enjoying.

We can follow their journey on their blog, The Compact. Here’s their summary:

1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc; 2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)

The purpose of reusing items is to reduce the strain and waste on the planet. And it saves a ton of money. How long can you go without buying anything new?

Thanks to The Compact for the inspiration!

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7 thoughts on “Buy Nothing New

  1. That is a challenge I am in on. Thank goodness that food and ………are excluded. Challenge on!
    Jean from the ‘rogue nation’

  2. It’s pretty tough… no new shoes, clothes, gifts, candles, phone if it breaks, cds, books, anything. You can get it all used, but basically don’t step a foot in the mall, Target, Home Depot, etc. (except for your work).

    I plan to do it later in the year – after my trip. I’ll keep you posted.

  3. I really should do this. I personally know how possible it is. I haven’t done it, but I have witnessed the available alternatives. I believe that it’s important. Maybe thinking about it and talking about it with a like-minded community would make it easier to break the consumer habit.

  4. Adrianne, you find great stuff at reuse shops! It’s inspirational.

    I’m going to try to do this more, and I can’t wait to save money and feel better about my purchases. After learning more about Fair Trade, I have a hard time buying a $5 tshirt at the store. But, if it’s a reuse shirt, I can feel better about that, knowing that it’s getting another life, not put in a landfill.

    My struggles will be: candles, yarn, home improvement stuff, shoes.

  5. You can find all of the above at the Goodwill, garage sales and on craigslist or ebay. Check out estate sales for candles and home improvement items. This should be fun to see how we all do.
    Jean from the ‘rogue nation’

  6. Yeah I agree with Jean, most of that stuff can be found at those places. It’s easier of course the more often you go. I don’t know when the last time I bought a new pair of shoes was. Candles probably could be found best at tag sales and maybe rummage sales. Church rummage sales are a great place for reuse stuff. Yarn is a little tougher. I know Juniper has been doing really well the past few years. I think I’d feel okay about it if I didn’t have stash and if it was more locally produced, which is what I was thinking about the candles as well. There may be some local people who do beeswax candles. If you find funky ones at thrift stores you may be able to melt and remold them. Of course that takes time and we do have our preferences for well-made things. There lies the rub. I sorta feel that good supportive shoes are important, even if you have to buy them new, but not in excess. I’ve been lucky to get multiple pairs of my favorite shoes, Danskos, at the thrift store for $5 or less. I wish they weren’t leather, but at least they’re reused. It seems that overall the concept in the end is more about the conscious effort to make a difference and be mindful about one’s purchases, not to deprive oneself completely like an ascetic. Thanks for the kudos Terra. I was talking to someone else about your post after I commented and they were reminding me as well that I probably reuse way more than most people. I guess I’m feeling a little bad for recent purchases. Oh well, back on the wagon.

  7. I think this is definitely possible! I think whatever people can’t get (or don’t want to) at the reuse shops, we can get locally. Shoes, candles, home improvement stuff, yarn is all available at local stores. It’s nice to support local businesses instead of big box stores.

    Re: leather shoes, I’ve recently read that vinyl shoes, etc, are made of petroleum products. There’s no reason to throw out perfectly good shoes just because they’re leather. They last longer on our feet, too. Vinyl or other synthetics last longer in the earth. It’s a toss-up.

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