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Revalue or consume more than once

Revaloriser ou consommer plus d’une fois

As mass consumption reaches ever greater heights, several initiatives are taking place to reduce the amount of waste produced. For the desire to consume, we want to substitute the need to consume; consumption is conveyed out of need and not out of desire. We advocate a search for profitable goods, not because of their price, which makes it possible to buy an incalculable number of them, but because of their durability. The best example of this ideal is the consumption of second-hand goods or products resulting from the reuse of objects. The upgrading of used goods is one of the key elements in the fight against overconsumption, an element that will be analyzed in more detail in the following lines.

Eco-friendly fashion

Fashion is, in this case, a double-edged sword. As much, on the one hand, it is the engine of the string of trends which are linked together at full speed and lead to massive purchases of products of all kinds among consumers. As much, on the other hand, it is responsible for the craze for vintage which increases the traffic of thrift stores, bazaars, antique shops and others. This renewed interest in used goods can only be beneficial for both the environment and the economy. On the environmental level, we apply the famous rule of the three Rs taught in elementary school: reduce, reuse and recycle. By consuming goods that have already been used, not only does the second concept of the principle apply, but also the first. By extending the useful life of as many goods as possible, we reduce the amount of waste by giving a second life to goods that we would otherwise get rid of. In addition, by procuring goods that have already been used and whose profitability has been proven, we can reduce the consumption of non-durable goods due to their poor quality. A decrease in the purchase of these goods leads to a drop in their demand and therefore a drop in their supply and production, since it is no longer profitable for industries to produce as much of them. In short, in any case, a change in consumption habits, the passage from the purchase of a non-durable good to that of a durable good, can only benefit the current precarious environmental situation.

Located in Montreal, Verre Vert by Marie-Odile Lépine specializes in the manufacture of recycled glass objects. The designer therefore reuses various items, assembling them to convert them into new unique objects.

Daily financial solution

Reusing already produced goods not only has a positive impact on the environment, but also on the economy. First, the purchase of goods that have already been used before is profitable for your personal finances. By purchasing used items in good condition, you know you are buying quality, unlike the often cheap products sold in big box stores. In this way, although the upgraded product, or the good that has been brought up to date, costs more to buy, it is more profitable than the product just manufactured, due to the duration of use. and usefulness of the article. Indeed, one should not neglect the factor of time when one buys any good. Buying something more expensive once knowing that it will last a long time is more advantageous than buying something less expensive, but which you will have to buy several times due to its poor quality. The most expensive good at the time of purchase ends up being the most affordable in the end. In addition, by rummaging through bazaars and thrift stores, it is possible to discover real bargains that are cheaper than the products offered by recent industries. Thereafter, it is enough to work them a little bit if one finds them faded. Whatever the case, we end up making savings that are not negligible; according to a study conducted by UQAM researchers commissioned by Kijiji, this would be savings of approximately $1,150 per year (Ducas, 2015, para. 12).

Run the economy from here

Admittedly, the trade in used goods is beneficial to the wallets of consumers who see real savings being made, but it is also beneficial for the national economy. Indeed, out of the 1648 billion dollars that constitutes the Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 34 billion would be due to the sale and purchase of second-hand goods, which is not at all negligible (Ducas, 2015, para 7). Also, the majority of current consumer goods come from imports, such as new clothing, which leads to an outflow of capital from Canada to foreign countries when purchasing such products. Buying new products therefore encourages external economies, which then grow richer, while ours depreciates due to the resulting loss of income. Everything is reversed when you buy used goods. As a matter of fact, since the purchase of used goods is made up of transactions between local buyers and sellers, most of the time the money stays within Canadian territory and therefore fills the State's coffers. If we compare the two situations, although the state makes some profit when the population buys imports, it makes more when buying used goods since the money stays in the country (Ducas , 2015, para 9). By avoiding these capital surges, by keeping the money in the country and by consuming used goods, we encourage the local economy, both in terms of GDP and employment. In addition, there are 300,000 jobs arising from this sector of activity (Ducas, 2015, para. 8).

Founded by Tania Trudel,Aube Créations is a company specializing in the upgrading of furniture and interiors. As one of the points of sale of the famous Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan, the company uses this product and many others to give a second life to furniture and thus add cachet to any decor.

Up to date

Some, however, remain reluctant, despite many arguments, to consume used goods. Fears about used goods are unfounded and can easily be overcome, regardless of their nature. For those whose concerns are of a more aesthetic nature, who fear that the articles are outdated, several answers come to solve this dilemma. First, vintage is all the rage right now, so there's no excuse not to buy used. Frequentation of thrift stores has become more democratic and, today, saying that your summer outfit comes from the Village des Valeurs can only bring you compliments. However, for the skeptics, it is always possible to upgrade your second-hand purchases. The DIY or Do It Yourself movement brings a multitude of ideas to bring back somewhat obsolete objects up to date or to give a second life to items whose fate you thought was cast; just open Pinterest to be bombarded with projects that you won't even see the end of. Finally, if you do not find the creative fiber in you, it is always possible to turn to local companies that are dedicated to the upgrading or recovery of objects. They will retype your acquisitions and will even go so far as to transform certain elements to give them hitherto unsuspected uses. Finally, whatever your tastes, there is always a solution to adopt the used purchase.

Ecodesigner, Sarah Girouard is the artist behind Sarah dans la lune . Reusing ties, she converts them into bags, clutches, bow ties, buckles and key rings.

In closing, the purchase of used goods is an action to be taken more and more frequently due to the positive impacts it has both environmentally and financially. We must ignore the prejudices that we might have in the face of this type of property and make vintage a permanent fashion. It is perhaps by establishing this new trend with no time limit that we will be able to counter in part, not only mass consumption, but also the immense production of waste which is constantly accumulating, both on the land than in the sea and the air.

Reviewed by Catherine

Source: Ducas, I. (February 24, 2015). Second-hand goods economy: $30 billion in the Canadian economy. The Press . Retrieved from

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