The previous owner of the house left several garden benches, but in poor condition. Repair was still possible...

New or used

We stopped buying new stuff. Well, almost. Some things are not or hardly available second hand, or are second hand so much less sustainable (in terms of environmental impact in production or in use) that you don't want them in your home.

Did you know that there is almost no product in your possession that incorporates the true costs?
The costs of (environmental) damage from extraction, transport and processing of raw materials to land, water and air are almost never charged to producers. As are the costs of cleaning up and restoring a landscape after extraction of the raw materials. And the cost of pollution from use and from the residual product only to a very small extent.

A car, for example, would be unaffordable for almost everyone if it included all the real costs of the car's entire life. Yet those are real costs that have to be paid by someone somewhere at some point. Most of those costs caused by production and by current use, are borne by future generations. Summarized in a few words: by a depleted, heavily polluted, unhealthy and unlivable earth.

When my wife and I have to buy something, we always give ourselves a minimum of 2 weeks to a maximum of a month or 2 to find a second hand version. Unless something is urgently needed of course. And that search period starts after about 7 days of consideration. During that time we ask ourselves if we really need it. Often a desire or need disappears during that period.
Preventing impulse buying is perhaps the most important thing in keeping your life uncluttered and simple. So it's absolutely worth training yourself in that. Even if you're wandering around a second hand store (for a good reason ;), you need to remind yourself and each other regularly of the need and of the reflection period.

Besides: living this way is very, very good for your wallet !

Before looking for a second hand product, we have of course already tried to (have) repair the one to be replaced, or be creative and make something else suitable for replacement use.
A simple example: does a kitchen appliance break down and is beyond repair, ask yourself if it needs to be replaced or if you can do the same job with something else you already own, or no longer need to do by changing the way you work/cook. A lot of convenience appliances are bought on a whim, for example after seeing an advertisement. Not because you can't live without them. Think for example of a microwave oven, electric knife, electric juicer etc.  Leaving aside, of course, the need for a power tool when your hands can no longer do something.
All is depending on how far you want to go in simplifying your life and lowering your energy consumption. We only have three electrical appliances left in the kitchen that we use: a refrigerator, an induction cooktop for 2 pans and a hand blender.

Many manufacturers and sellers and their systems are rigid because of the focus on maximum sales and profit. That does sometimes make it difficult for you to "upgrade" something used. For example, we recently tried to have new lenses put into an 'old' frame. But that turned out to be more expensive than buying completely new glasses... Today's world is far from circular. Circular means that we share, lease, reuse, repair, refurbish/upgrade and recycle existing materials and products for as long as possible.

Photo: The previous owner of the house left several garden benches, but in poor condition. Repair was still possible...

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