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I have seen it time and again and it drives me nuts, especially at magazines, books, websites promoting a green/ethical/eco way of life that the answer is to throw money at the issue.

Whether it be clothing, toys or stuff for the house anything with an eco or green label on it seems to be a huge factor in throwing the price right up, I personally think these companies are a good thing overall but can easily trick us into parting with huge sums of money to ease our conscious!  I hope I won’t be slammed either for saying that I think the sales in these places magnify the problem and create an ‘I want’ situation, if they can sell really cheap to get rid of stock why not sell at a middling ground all the time?

I know it’s not totally gone on here but where oh where is the basic and common sense idea of re-using items, buying second hand, thrifting, whatever you call it.  Taking something someone hasn’t used or is no longer using and re-using, re-purposing or even adapting it to fit your need, please tell me it hasn’t completely gone from people’s behaviour?!

At the W.I this month a very crafty lady who lives up the road showed us how to make rag rugs, she also talked about how she was never allowed to have idle hands and even now she is happier doing and making that just sat doing nothing, she spoke of everyday practices that seem to be forgotten, like passing clothes around communities, unwinding the wool from jumpers once they got holes in or too small so another could be knitted (even how if you grew alot you know you would end up with a stripey jumper made from two smaller ones), using old worn out clothes to make rags for the house then once they were no good for that ragging clothes to make rugs, nothing was wasted and certainly nothing like this was thrown away.

What do you think?
What are your biggest tips for re-using before shelling out loads of money?
Do you think it’s good that green/eco companies charge more (obviously labour, fairtrade, etc will cost more) or do you think it is time to go back to basics?

I know when I buy something my first look is at ebay because I would rather buy second hand, I would also prefer to buy local to us (you never know when there is someone just up the road selling the exact thing you need) and it is cheaper!
sarie

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

LETS number 64

really agree with you sarie, it drives me up the wall the way being green has become a lifestyle choice.

I think it is right that green companies charge more though. I don’t think they have a lot of choice. I’d always rather pay 3 x the price and have the workers paid properly, and hopefully not be exposed to horrible chemicals, than buy something cheaply in asda and know that in all probability it was made by child labour. I also think that, all things being equal, hemp and probably cotton are better than acrylic for the environment and do cost more.

So I don’t have a problem with these companies charging more, per se, but I have a big big problem with the “I want” mentality that is created.

Totally with you! 
We shop for clothes at the boot sales through the summer, picking up lovely labels mostly for less than a £1 adults and rarely more than 50p an item for kids stuff. 
We buy around 90% of our books from the boot sale or charity shops.  If Im after a specific one (usually home ed) I put an ISO here or another forum Im on before I take a trip to amazon. 
I also use the boot sales to satisfy my ‘wants’ for the home.  I love looking through the mags but no way could I justify paying the ridiculous amounts to buy new but get a real buzz when I pick it up at the boot sales or charity shop.
Charity shops around here are quite pricey and I tend to shop there through the winter months when the boot sales are shut, but mostly for books & homeware as I really do stock up on clothing through summer.
I also incorporate a trip to the dump twice a week, especially if I need something for the garden.  90% of the kids outdoor toys come from the dump and Im constantly amazed by what people see fit to throw out to landfill :(  In recent times we’ve had a lovely wooden kitchen, bikes, scooters, shelving, garden chairs, mirrors, easel amongst other things from there!  Saving us HUNDREDS of pounds!

We do buy new, and I do shop in places like Ikea but I trawl freecycle, ebay and forums first.

I use worn out kids stuff (mainly baby gro’s) for rags around the house, it gives me a massive smile when I remember them actually wearing them smile

Mama to six
Did you say six
Lover of handmade & vintage
Priddy Priddy

I agree too, and I have a feeling that for some, there is also a bit of a badge to be worn by having “green/Eco” stuff as if to prove how green you are.  I much prefer seeing homemade stuff anyday, but that’s just me wink

My Dad does this! He goes on and on about how green he is, totally failing to realise that buying second hand is much better for the environment than buy new eco stuff.

I’m fortunate in that having so many friends with children just a bit older than mine, we get a lot of hand me downs which then do both our girls and might get passed on to the next one too. Like Sarie, I tend to look on ebay first when I need something, I use Green Metropolis for books and we’re blessed by the amount of great charity shops we can get to easily.

Clarexxx

Hippy-anarchist-feminist-eco-crafty Mama of

Helena July 06
Felicity March 09
Miranda December 11

http://theanarchistmama.blogspot.co.uk

http://rosehowey.org.uk - home!

I agree too. Being ‘green’ and environmentally aware has become an industry in itself.

I buy a lot of books in charity shops, in fact I’d say that at least 3/4 of DS’s books are second hand. Virtually all his toys that are vehicles are as well. Car boot sales are great for toys!

I’m lucky because DH is very good at mending and making do. There are so many things that I would have had no idea how to fix that he has mended for us. I have no knitting/sewing skills at all and this bothers me as I would love to be able to remodel old clothes or knit new things. I must confess that DH is probably better at the whole making do thing than me. Then again, he’s older than me and was probably brought up at a time when it was more the norm instead of todays ‘chuck it out and buy another’ society.

I do like to buy second hand clothes, books, homeware stuff and toys if I can though. The charity shops around us aren’t brilliant for kids clothes, but I’ve found quite a few bargains over the past 4 years. It’s DS’s birthday next month and whenever I see something in a charity shop that I think is suitable for him I buy it and add it to my stockpile for birthday/xmas gifts for him. We manage to get nice organic cotton clothes for DS as we live in Cornwall and so are able to go to the Frugi sample sales where they sell off their surplus stock ridiculously cheaply.

Going back to buying secondhand, what bugs me is if something is ‘vintage’, the price is ridiculous. Toys are especially bad for this. I got DS a 1970s Fisher Price ‘school days desk’ off ebay for xmas. I got his for a reasonable price (there was 1 magnetic latter missing, so DH made a replacement out of wood!), but some of them were going for an enormous amount of money. A local charity shop has cottoned onto this and now if it has any toys that are from the ‘70s it charges top whack for them. Having said that, we have still managed to get lots of second hand bargains, it’s just the whole ‘vintage’ thing that winds me up!

I could add more, but my brain is befuddled at the moment as I’ve had a bad cold/bug all week.

Good post, Sarie smile

ETA: I expect to pay more if something is fairtrade/organic. In fact, I buy quite a lot of my clothes from the Nomads Clothing website as it’s fairtrade and a local company to me. Plus, they have good online sales too! I think a lot of products are marketed as being ‘eco’ when buying something second hand that would do the same job would be a more ‘eco’ way of dealing with it!

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- From ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran

Over the last couple of years, I’ve started buying Christmas and birthday presents at collectors fairs/boot fairs.  It usually takes me all year to find things but it means I’ve been able to put more thought in than just walking into a shop and panic buying off the shelf because I can’t really find what I’m looking for and I’ve run out of time - plus it’s more interesting and there’s usually a tale with each gift plus a lot of renovating required to get it back to its original condition which I also enjoy.

I’ve always wanted a nice cutlery set - sounds a bit flash and expensive and it would have been if we were buying new (well for what I was looking for this wasn’t an option).  Over the last eighteen months, I managed to find a 1920’s cutlery box that I renovated, cost £20 and silver forks, spoons etc at different fairs for sometimes as little as 50 pence.  It doesn’t completely match but that’s the charm of it - it’s lovely and I find being able to restore things that were once really loved and giving them another chance at life, completley rewarding.  Our house if full of stuff like this.

My husbands grandfather loves old books and I’ve found some of his best gifts (so he tells me), in charity shops.  Our family also recycles our books between family and friends before passing them onto the charity shops.

I’m also a huge fan of ebay - what did we do before ebay smile

On the flip side though, I also think that if you can afford to and you see something you like that is new, then you should be able to buy it, spend your money as you wish, you’ve worked hard for it so you should be able to enjoy it without feeling guilty.

Do I think it’s time to go back to basics, not always and I’m sure if my grandparents were here today they would agree. I think it’s about balance and the time you have available to you. If you are one of this people that enjoy renovating and recycling great but if you’re one of these people who just spend, spend, spend, then that’s your choice - I don’t necessarily think it brings happiness but at least we have a choice and I think that is what is important.

Totally with you on this. My preference is always to make it or if I cant then buy it second hand. I do find ‘green’ stuff expensive, but if I must buy new (shoes etc) then Id rather pay more for a fair trade, ethical product (tho in fairness I have been known to buy the odd piece of clothing or whatever from a large supermarket which is usually down to being disorganised & panic buying but also does come down to a lack of funds sometimes to buy the ‘green’ equivalent).
There is a HUGE green market isnt there? Its just another type of consumer madness imo. Some people have their houses full of brand new eco toys/clothes etc & it makes me a little uncomfortable.
xxx

To dare is to lose ones footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.

LETS number 137

https://wildheartseducation.wordpress.com/

Absolutely!
When we do feel we need to buy something, new clothes for growing child we look first at whether we can make it, the local charity shops and then ebay before anywhere else. Shops or online shops are a last resort and even then we seek the bargains.

I think a lot of the “green/eco” companies have just caught onto the eco conscious minds and done a good job in advertising (which is what they pay for it for) to get people believing they need it but it’s ok it is eco friendly! But it comes down to people wanting these things more than needing them. Higher prices because of fair trading, etc is fine but the real question is do you need it!

I loved making rag rugs as a child, and am very into re-using things that perhaps aren’t good enough to pass on or give to charity shops. Re-using wool or fabrics is just something that comes natural to me (and obviously many others on here) - it just makes sense, and is something we can pass onto our children, although it’s not for everyone. My daughter already gets ideas of reusing things in crafts and long may that continue.

I think there is such a spectrum of people that you can’t say something like this without alienating people, because when you say we should make do and mend, you will simply alienate those who are currently living a very consumerist lifestyle, and they’ll just think “Ugh .... you bunch of old hippies.  I’m not wearing someones elses clothes”.  Some people just like things new.  I’m not disagreeing or suggesting that the thrifty way isn’t the ideal way but by putting on your “holier than thou - I am so green - I buy everything secondhand etc etc” hat you don’t necessarily draw people to the cause.  In fact because we live in this capitalist world where the rich are just stupidly rich and the poor just have to, through necessity, do what you are talking about, you will never convert the rich to this approach because they have oodles of money and are quite happy to spend it.  Hence why you see al those lovely boutique stores in posh places selling the kind of handmade stuff you see on etsy.  Sell them refashioned old tat for stupid amounts of money to rebalance the wealth.  But I do think all the lovely blogs that show the kind of things you can make are inspiring, just unfortunately some people really don’t have the time or the means to do all the things you are talking about.  So I think some people are time poor because they are working all the hours under the sun to scrape by and then can’t do the things you are talking about and all sorts of other reasons like lack of access to transport.

I also think that if we (the green people) don’t support those stores that sell green or ethical items, then unfortunately no-one else will, so to restore the world to a greener or more ethical place we need to support these kind of ventures otherwise the world will continue to be dominated by the likes of Tesco and Nestle and all those companies I don’t like and if I could reverse the clock to encourage the greengrocer and the baker and the candlestick maker back onto the high street I would, but you can only do that by being a customer.  So unfortunately they are in a Catch 22 situation if their customer chooses not to buy and the balance will not shift our way

So I would say to those or making ethical and green choices when they shop that they are putting their money in the right place and that it is really important that they continue to do so ...........

DD1 - Nov 04
DD2 - Aug 07

Fair point, sky-curl. There will always be those with more money than sense and then other people who as you say, just don’t have the time to make things, etc. I confess that we generally shop at Tesco or Asda because we live in a small town and we have no farmers (or otherwise) market in our town itself. A small greengrocer’s stall has appeared recently and I’ve bought a few things there, but as we walk into town I can’t lug a tonne of fruit and veg home with me.

As with everything, there’s never an easy answer to these sorts of problems!

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”- From ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran

I agree both with what Sky-curl said and what people before her said about non-consumerism. It’s sooo seductive. I was just looking around for replacement water bottle caps (see other thread) and came across various green websites. It all looks lovely, and makes me want stuff. And so they lure you in if you’re not careful. Am going to start another thread based on something Eden said about using things not good enough to pass on or charity shop. Ideas and suggestions anyone?

Love,
SunshineXX

Sunshine
CARPE DIEM!

(Lets number 63)

I think it is mostly down to the consumerist society we live in, and the general increase of wealth.  In honesty I just couldn’t justify the cost of *green* clothes, I recently saw a baby vest (organic cotton, FT) in Oxfam for a whopping £9.99!  I usually pay 50p at the carbootsales.  In the past people bought things because they needed them, there wasn’t enough wealth for wants.  That is all changing now of course.  I buy nearly all clothes from the carbootsales, but I buy much more than I need because if I see something I know costs £20 on the high street and I can get it for 50p, I feel that it is such a waste!  I know this is wrong, and trying to rectify it.  It does mean that if one of my kids has a tear/rip in their clothes I have no inclination or need to mend it, it goes straight ito the recycling pile and I reach into the suitcase to find another item to replace it.  Again wrong, but I’m working on it.  Again to refer to the Middle East, which in parts doesn’t enjoy the affluence here, absolutely nothing is wasted.  Clothes are passed down to siblings/neighbours/anyone who can use them, clothes that are irreplaceably stained are cut into large cleaning rags, buttons/zips are removed for reuse and the smaller remnants will be cut up finely for stuffing cushions or matresses.  When someone is due to have a first baby there is no concept of buying stuff, the neighbours will sort you out and in turn you will pass in on to the next one, merry go round style.  It made me realize how commercialized having a baby has become in the West.  Babies don’t cost a lot, therefore there is often one born every year!

Muslim mum of four, home educating, environmental hypocrite (but doing my best) hodge podging through this life…..

I agree both with what Sky-curl said and what people before her said about non-consumerism. It’s sooo seductive. I was just looking around for replacement water bottle caps (see other thread) and came across various green websites. It all looks lovely, and makes me want stuff.

Yes I agree, all the ethical/green websites look so lovely that I go browsing for one thing and get totally taken off track looking at fabulous products that I find myself saying those dreaded words “I want”......... but these fabulous products also have fabulous prices attached and usually in sterling so convert that to euros and costs me even more:(  so yes they are nice to look at, dream a little and wake up and say I really don’t need that, something else to gather dust and clutter my house with….  When I am buying new I do like to look to buy from a company with good ethics and of good quality that will last….... I’d rather pay the little bit extra than to get something cheap that will only last a few months…..
Actually I noticed a few sites which I found in old issues of the GP mag are no longer running, which is sad…. but there are so many of them so it is a very competitive industry….. If everyone was to reuse/recycle everything, realistically there would be no need to buy anything new…  I heard recently that in order for our economy to pick up we (the government) need to get people spending again…. it is a vicious circle - if we don’t spend, there’s unemployment, the government doesn’t get money so then there’s no money for social welfare etc…... So let those who can afford to throw away their money on expensive Stuff whether it’s green or not and those who try their best to reuse, recycle, mend, make, etc continue to do what they believe in because their the ones who are making the most impact giving old thing new life…. smile
With the collapse in the economy there is an increase in people passing clothes down from one to the other which is great…... A friend of my mum’s brings me a couple of bags of boys clothes every 6 months and omg I get soooo excited, I love to see her coming - ds is only 2½ but I have clothes put away that will do him up til he’s 7….. imagine someone gave me 26 t-shirts for aged 4 - 5, why that little boy needed 26 tshirts in the first place beats me…. so I divided them up between ds and dd (she is even getting to wear the boys shorts and then I’ll keep them up for ds)... I have to keep asking my sister in law if her daughter has anything to throw out (she gets clothes from some one else and actually passes them over to me - I know her sister buys alot new for them).......
I’m one of those people who works during the week and unfortunately doesn’t have much time to make/bake and keep the lovely blogs I so much love looking through and envying the talents of the bloggers…. one day I keep telling myself that will be me:)
hugsxxxx

sarie - 24 June 2011 05:22 AM

I have seen it time and again and it drives me nuts, especially at magazines, books, websites promoting a green/ethical/eco way of life that the answer is to throw money at the issue.

Whether it be clothing, toys or stuff for the house anything with an eco or green label on it seems to be a huge factor in throwing the price right up, I personally think these companies are a good thing overall but can easily trick us into parting with huge sums of money to ease our conscious!  I hope I won’t be slammed either for saying that I think the sales in these places magnify the problem and create an ‘I want’ situation, if they can sell really cheap to get rid of stock why not sell at a middling ground all the time?

I know it’s not totally gone on here but where oh where is the basic and common sense idea of re-using items, buying second hand, thrifting, whatever you call it.  Taking something someone hasn’t used or is no longer using and re-using, re-purposing or even adapting it to fit your need, please tell me it hasn’t completely gone from people’s behaviour?!

At the W.I this month a very crafty lady who lives up the road showed us how to make rag rugs, she also talked about how she was never allowed to have idle hands and even now she is happier doing and making that just sat doing nothing, she spoke of everyday practices that seem to be forgotten, like passing clothes around communities, unwinding the wool from jumpers once they got holes in or too small so another could be knitted (even how if you grew alot you know you would end up with a stripey jumper made from two smaller ones), using old worn out clothes to make rags for the house then once they were no good for that ragging clothes to make rugs, nothing was wasted and certainly nothing like this was thrown away.

What do you think?
What are your biggest tips for re-using before shelling out loads of money?
Do you think it’s good that green/eco companies charge more (obviously labour, fairtrade, etc will cost more) or do you think it is time to go back to basics?

I know when I buy something my first look is at ebay because I would rather buy second hand, I would also prefer to buy local to us (you never know when there is someone just up the road selling the exact thing you need) and it is cheaper!
sarie

Sarie i agree with what you say not everyone can afford to buy everything eco/green/fairtrade . I am definetly a secondhand person i will look to buy something i need on ebay / gumtree etc to see if anyone is selling one before i buy anything i hate waste and will look for another use for it or see if i can recycle it before even thinking of throwing away , i swear i drive my family mad lol . I absolutely hate waste drives me nuts i think there really is no need for it .
I think a big part of being green is reusing what you have . I am not knocking anyone who can afford to buy from these companies as they are keeping some very good cause’s going which is very important also .

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