Most often, you are truly doing a wonderful thing, by donating your unwanted items to a thrift store. But, unfortunately, in some cases, 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 Electronics, for example, quickly go out of date.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… unless there’s a good paint store, nearby.
And, sometimes the staff at a charitable resale aren’t properly trained to repurpose, recondition or re-set items, to return them to real utility.
According to author Adam Minter, who took a deep hard look into the second-hand business, after his mother died: these items often end up in a landfill. Minter 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 – use it for as long as you possibly can. You can read more in his new book “Secondhand.” His first book, “Junkyard Planet” explores the recycling industry.