Published On: Wed, Nov 20th, 2019

Brits turn to refurbished and second-hand items to live a more sustainable life

A study of 2,000 adults found a third of adults are happy to pick up used items such as clothing, homeware and gadgets – to help the planet. And six in 10 went as far as to say it’s more important for them ‘than ever’ to shop green where possible. Around half are also worried about ‘fast fashion’ and take this into account when they buy outfits and accessories. Similarly, two thirds consider the environmental and social impact caused by the manufacture of everyday household items – such as clothes, white goods and gadgets.

But 55 percent think there’s still a stigma over buying anything secondhand or refurbished.

A spokesperson for giffgaff, launching its ‘Black Friday Pop Up Shop’, said: “With refurbished items in particular, you are getting something very close to being new – but cheaper, and an item which rather than being discarded or sat in a drawer can be used.”

Despite the apparent stigma, the study also found three quarters think shopping for secondhand or refurbished items is more acceptable now than ever before.

Four in 10 believe older items tend to be better made, while half like the uniqueness of second hand items and half think they are just as good as new.

While seven in 10 go second hand to save money, a fifth simply prefer the shopping experience itself.

Almost a quarter have taken that experience one step further and up-cycled second hand or discarded items to give them a new lease of life.

And 57 percent have utilised web communities where members give and collect items for free from other members where they live.

The most popular second hand or refurbished items to buy include books (74 percent), collectables (62 percent) and cars (60 percent).

Furniture (58 percent) also made the top 20, along with artwork (56 percent) and DVDs or Blu-rays (53 percent).

However, mobile phones (30 percent) and shoes (19 percent) are among the items people are least likely to buy second hand.

The spokesperson for giffgaff added: “While people are becoming more savvy with their purchases, it is clear that, when it comes to phones, there is still some work to do.

“That’s why our increased focus on offering a great refurbished choice alongside our range of new handsets is the right one.”

Charity shops are the most popular haunt for finding second hand items, along with auction sites (44 percent) and online stores (34 percent).

And of those who do shop in this way, an average of  £42-a-month will be spent – more than £500-a-year.

The study, commissioned via OnePoll, also found 44 per cent feel under pressure to overspend at this time of year due to Black Friday and Christmas.

But 73 percent think the materialism of Black Friday and Christmas is likely to be bad for the environment.

A spokesperson for giffgaff added: “As ever, the pressure to spend at this time of year is very much there.

“And this Black Friday, we are opening our pop up where nothing is for sale.

“To get your hands on one of 100 items on the day, you’ll have to pay with a public pledge to choose refurbished wherever possible for the rest of the year.

“As this pop up and research shows, shopping for refurbished or second hand items is the savvier choice.”

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