This summer I’m giving myself a challenge.  I’m not going to buy anything new.  Except for food and personal necessities, of course.

A couple of months ago my trusty little toaster oven let off a puff of black smoke and died.  It was half way through cooking a chicken burger.  I loved my toaster oven for a couple of reasons.  It heated up quickly and used a lot less energy than the conventional oven.

Having purchased that particular appliance second-hand from a neighbour, I decided to scour the internet for a new second-hand one.  I like UsedVictoria, but there are other community garage-sale type sites out there if you aren’t from here.

Finding one wasn’t hard, and for $35 (and no tax!) I got myself a deluxe convection oven that was certainly a few steps above my old one, and only gently used by its previous owner.  Reusing someone else’s unwanted goods is a great way to cut back on consumerism and waste.

Each day our planet hands over more and more of its precious resources so that we can create and sell products that already exist.  This growth and consumerism is what drives our economy, and so we’re encouraged to spend money.  It makes me realize that society tells us to buy things brand-new instead of getting them fixed or finding them second-hand.  When I enquired about the cost of repairing my old toaster oven, I was told I would pay more to have it fixed, than replaced with a shiny new one.

We need to learn how to build an economy based on sustainability, not growth because our planet cannot sustain our current global retail habits. And those of us living in privileged first-world countries are the worst offenders.

For me, summer is a time when I stand in front of store windows and drool over short skirts and printed tank tops.  And because they’re made in China and oh-so cheap, I buy summer clothes in multiples.  But not this summer.  I don’t need any new clothes, and therefor I’m not going to buy any.  This will be tough because retailers know how to tempt a girl like me into their stores with bright, whimsical patterns and soft, breezy lace.

But I have a resolution and I’m standing firm!

I’m not going to buy anything I don’t need, and will look for second-hand options for things I can’t live without.  In Victoria there are a few good places to look aside from the internet, like Value Village, the WIN Store and the Salvation Army Stores.  Shopping at a thrift store has the added benefit of helping people in need.

The three R’s stand for reduce, reuse and recycle.  By choosing to buy things second-hand or not at all means I’m not only reusing, but also reducing, because one more toaster oven bought on UsedVictoria, is one less toaster oven going to the dump, and one less toaster oven being made in a factory!

My old toaster oven went happily off to recycling.  I’m going to see what I can sell on UsedVictoria!

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