Think you’re doing a great and wonderful thing by donating your unwanted items to a thrift store? In some cases you still are but in most cases today, you aren’t. That’s because many products today don’t have the shelf-lives of years gone by. Electronics, for example, quickly go out of date. Even some well made items, like oak furniture, can be hard to resell. According to author Adam Minter, who took a deep hard look into the second-hand business after his own mother died, these items often end up going straight to the landfill. He says if you really want to decrease your own environmental impact, the best thing you can do, is buy less stuff over the the course of your lifetime. And the stuff you do buy, hold on to it and use it as long as you possibly can.
You can read more in his new book “Secondhand.” His first book, “Junkyard Planet” explores the recycling industry. How much of the stuff you’ve donated you think probably ended up in the dump? Do you have to have the latest and greatest gadgets? Could you hold onto your current electronics for another year or two?