Financial Benefits of Shopping Reuse

Saving money! Who doesn’t love to save money. The great thing is that buying secondhand items is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of money. Especially in the purchasing of materials for your next remodel. We’ve all seen the headlines, inflation is through the roof and the cost of construction material is the highest it has ever been. If you’re looking to save money, check out our previous post here, and if you want to find out more about what this ShoprReuse stuff is about, then read this. In this post, we are going to talk about some of the dollar values and business opportunities for buying and selling your secondhand materials. We’ll touch on the expected growth of the secondhand market, how much extra waste could be costing us, and how you can get in on the money saving action.

Growth of secondhand market.

According to Mercari’s 2021 Reuse Report, the secondhand market is currently worth over 160 billion dollars per year. But what’s even more surprising is that it is expected to grow to almost 354 billion dollars by 2030. That is a growth of over 150% between 2020 and 2030. That is a lot of money that will be spent on second hand items instead of being spent on other things. In 2020, 17.1 billion dollars were spent on the home category. This is a lot of money for items that can be thrown away, but unfortunately not all of it is good news. According to the report, “1.6 billion products fit for resale were thrown away in 2020.”

Cost of disposal

Americans spent a total of $4.5 billon dollars throwing things away in 2020. This is between paying for dumpsters, paying for junk removal, paying for garbage sites and commercial collection. Most of that waste is not being recycled, and we are paying to either burn it or dump it in landfills. In 2018, DC sent over 324 million tons of waste to landfills, and over 325 millions tons of waste to be burned. Although the city has a zero waste vision which is “defined as diverting 80% or more of the city’s solid waste stream away from landfills and waste-to-energy facilities,” we are clearly a long way from there. Though recycling will be a crucial part of this strategy, the reuse of materials would be the most economically advantageous way to reach this goal. This is because reuse not only helps the environment, it also creates jobs and creates secondary incomes for individuals who sell the materials instead of paying money to send them to landfills.

How you can save money

So how can you get in on saving, or better yet, making some money with secondhand materials? Well, it turns out that online may be the best way. Again, according to the Mercari report, “Consumers are more likely to sell secondhand goods online — 66.5% of those surveyed sold online while 12.4% sold in physical stores.” So your best bet to find what you are looking for may be online. However, if you would like to see items in person, we have a handy list of all the local places to buy secondhand remodel materials here. As we were doing research for this article, we also found a beautiful store called Tanglewood Sue that sells unique and beautiful up-cycled art here in the DMV, and we wanted to share her here. And if you are looking to sell, we gathered some interesting information from the Mercari report that may help to position how you sell. First, people who are buying secondhand are expecting at least a 25% reduction in prices from retail, so price accordingly. Second, almost 30% are buying secondhand as “a way to find something unavailable elsewhere,” so the more unique your product, the easier it may be to sell it. And finally, over a quarter of those surveyed bought secondhand as “a way to discover new items,” and this was especially true for the 18-24 crowd. So, if you have items that may not be easily accessible to younger audiences, you may be able to find customers you were not expecting.


DC 2018 Diversion Report final.

Mercari 2021 Reuse Report.

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