Buying new furniture is exciting. It often means you have moved into a new space and need to decorate, giving you a chance to redesign your surroundings and the feeling of a fresh start. For a large majority of the population, it also means that you get to go to Ikea and eat as many meatballs as physically possible in one afternoon.
Whilst it is undeniably tempting to go and get yourself an entirely new setup, it is also a fact that buying brand new furniture every time you need something for your home or office has an impact on the environment due to the energy and materials used to make them. There are a number of really good second-hand furniture options for sale both in-store and online, and often you’ll find that they can give your space a much more unique feel.
The one strong selling point of Ikea is that they seem to always have exactly the thing you need, whereas buying second-hand makes it harder to find what you want. However, this is not an excuse to not try. Think about how much time you spend looking online for the best deal on whatever your next purchase is, or if you are someone who buys second-hand clothes, think about how much time you spend trying to find the perfect jacket. This is time that you could spend looking for that perfect piece of furniture for your new place.
All you need to do is make a quick Google search for your local second-hand store and take a look, or if you don’t feel like leaving your seat you can browse sites like eBay, Gumtree, Etsy and Freecycle just to name a few. If you do find something online, you can use Shiply as an eco-friendly shipping option as the drivers are typically filling their vans on journeys they are already making (and it’s also up to 75% cheaper than standard rates!).
Even Ikea themselves are now testing schemes where you can hand in old furniture so that they can find it a new home. With all the emphasis on social responsibility at the moment it feels like the times are changing on fast flatpack furniture, so next time you need a new sofa, think about the environment and take a look at second-hand options before going straight to the meatballs!
If you’re wondering how to have a less wasteful Christmas this year, here are some tips to make your Christmas a little greener. Planning ahead could make a big difference to how much you throw away and help minimise your effect on the environment.
Buy Second hand presents
Image Souce Ebay.co.uk
Second hand doesn’t have to be a stained or half eaten present. It can also mean something virtually brand new in a box that was an unwanted gift for someone else but perfect for who you’re buying for. Before heading straight for brand new, consider looking for something second hand. Use sites like eBay to find pre-loved (or never-loved) items that deserve a better home and look good as new, which should please even the fussiest of Christmas guests. It should save you some money, too.
Be mindful of potential waste
There are a lot of things we do around this period that are excessive, without giving them a second thought. Do you really need to buy a huge bag of sprouts when it’s only one person that’ll actually eat them? Do you really need three whole desserts for a family of six? When you’re shopping, try and think about portion sizes (if you’re going to be following recipes, look at what is recommended for each person and try to stick to it). People overspend and overbuy – remember you can always buy more another day if there’s not enough! The same goes for gifts – if you have more than one gift for one person, do you really need to wrap them individually and do they really need more than one in the first place?
If your loved ones have stockings, think about what you’re putting in there and don’t just fill it for the sake of it. Will the small toys really be used? Do they really need all those gimmicks? Think carefully about what you’re buying and the consequences on the planet if they’re thrown away.
Make sure you recycle
Image Source: Wonderopolis.org
If you’re finding it too difficult to find out how many mouths you need to feed, or presents to buy (maybe you’re not sure who’s going to be coming round and when!), make sure that you’re able to recycle what you do not use. For waste food, make sure you don’t just throw it away – leftovers can be sorted into portions and eaten later. Popular ways to use turkey leftovers include making christmas sandwiches or turkey curries. As a last resort, discard in a compost heap or put in a food bin for the council to collect.
Make sure you separate wrapping paper and cardboard to be recycled. If you don’t already recycle, take a look at your local council’s website to see how you can avoid putting your Christmas waste into landfill.
Think green this Christmas!