Shopping with a circular mindset means you have to purchase products while simultaneously promoting what is called the circular economy. This kind of economy is defined as an industrial production and consumption model that emphasizes the sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling of existing resources and goods for as long as necessary.
On paper, it sounds like it’s something everybody should be getting on board with. In practice, however, most of has been gravitating towards the “linear economy”, where natural resources are converted into products that, because of the way they are designed and made, are eventually destined to become garbage. Contemporary furniture designer Marcin Bahrij brilliantly illustrated the difference between these two models in an insightful essay.
The question remains, how can the end-users push the frontiers of the circular economy and avoid the linear one when shopping for furniture?
1. Consider second-hand items
The used market for furniture is usually worth exploring because you might be getting priceless antiques and highly durable items. It is important to keep in mind that buying new may not always be better, especially when “new” refers to those mass-produced, cheap furniture items that don’t last for very long.
Thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist, and Etsy offer great deals on gently used or even completely new household items that are still being sold because they no longer serve a purpose for their original owner.
Not only will this help you save money and get more bang for your buck, but it also reduces waste by reusing items instead of throwing them away. Also, try to get rid of the social stigma that used furniture is only for those who cannot afford new ones. This is simply not true, and besides, taking care of the planet is much more important than social projections right?
2. Shop locally
When you purchase locally, you’re more likely to acquire something made more transparently and attentively than if you buy something sent from elsewhere. You will also save the planet from greenhouse gasses caused by long-distance deliveries. On top of that, you will feel good about helping the local economy.
- Consider trading for furniture
Product trading is one of the easiest ways to participate in a circular economy. Try looking at trade networks online where people trade their furniture for stuff they need. This is a fantastic way to score great furnishings while simultaneously disposing of your stuff in a more responsible manner.
4. Assess and compare manufacturers before buying
If you really have to buy something brand new and you can’t find your desired item in your local furniture store, then at least practice due diligence before placing an order. Make sure to only buy from manufacturers with environmental certifications and a solid reputation for going green. Other things to look at when buying furniture are materials, the source of wood, and the safety of the paint used for coating.
5. Consider renting furniture instead
The access-over-ownership philosophy has become very popular because it simply makes sense for a great number of customers. If you’re renting a home, for example, why not just lease furniture instead of buying it? This way, you won’t have to worry about disposal if in case you need to move, and you’re saving the planet by not opting for cheap, mass-produced items.
Increasingly, people are noticing the fact that our society’s current consumer patterns don’t make sense from a human or an environmental standpoint. We are witnessing the emergence of a “circular economy,” which makes good business sense because it’s better for everyone involved. The main challenge is to look for attractive alternatives for furniture that is functional, beautiful, and durable – so here we have assembled some tricks to make your new home refined without being wasteful.