Nothing New in 22

You may have heard of the #NothingNewIn22 campaign. Its aim is as it says on the tin – buy nothing new this year (but you can buy second hand things). The purpose is to get people thinking about ways to reduce consumption. As consumers are thought to be responsible for 60-70% of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, rethinking your consumption habits can have a really positive environmental impact as well as saving you money!

The beauty of buying nothing new is you can set your own rules and do it for as long as you like. You may try it for a month, 6 months or a year and you may make exceptions for certain purchases.

We’ve been trying to avoid buying new stuff for a while now – here’s why we do it and what we’ve learned.

Benefits of Buying Nothing New

Buying (or getting for free) something second hand has many advantages:

Keep stuff out of landfill – remember there is no away! According to a podcast about The Jump, to reduce emissions we should aim to keep whatever we buy in use for at least 7 years, as a huge amount of a product’s carbon footprint comes from the emissions involved in its manufacture.

Get unique items – life is much more exciting when you don’t try to conform to the latest trend and your belongings are an eclectic mix of second hand finds.

Get pleasure from repurposing – sometimes it pays to be creative and find a new use for something you already own instead of buying something new.

Things go to a good home – in our experience, people are pleased when we rehome their “junk” and give it a new lease of life.

Save money – it can be much cheaper to buy second hand stuff, and often items can be found for free if you’re prepared to be patient. It’s possible to find bargains on quality items that you may not be able to afford to purchase new.

Less clutter – by arguably making it more difficult for ourselves to buy things, we tend to make more considered purchases and don’t end up regretting impulse buys. As a result we simply have less stuff and our homes are less cluttered.

Experience a feeling of satisfaction – it’s very satisfying finding “treasure”. We admit to feeling a bit smug when we manage to find a second hand bargain!

Real Life Examples

A bike for free – I recently got a bike for free, in full working order, complete with paniers, from our local Freecycle group. Obviously I feel very smug about that, although probably I should have just repaired the flat tyre on my other bike rather than getting a replacement bike! I’m justifying it because the “new” bike has a kickstand, so it’s handy for litter-picking. I will get round to repairing my old bike and I will continue to use it for other journeys and going off-road.

Car boot bargains – when we were trying to rehome our junk at a local car boot sale, I managed to buy a whole load of things second hand that were on my list of things I needed, including an axe, wellies, lampshades and a sink plunger!

Upcycling projects – I like finding new uses for things I already own or that other people are getting rid of. My recent upcycling projects include making water butts from an old bin and barrels that had been used to store olives (which I got from Facebook Marketplace), complete with a syphon system made from an old hosepipe my dad had lying around; using an old window to repair my cold frame; and fixing an old freezer basket to my “new” bike.

Our Tips on How to Buy Nothing New

Do you really need it – ask yourself “do I really need it and if so, how can I meet that need?”

Use stuff you already have – think outside the box and see if you’ve got something lying around that could do the job. For example, I often use toilet roll tubes instead of plant pots when sowing seeds and plastic takeaway tubs instead of clingfilm or freezer bags.

Borrow what you need – it can make sense to borrow certain items that you might only need occasionally for a one-off job, such as a drill or other tools. Try asking family and friends, put a shout out on your local Facebook community group or see if there’s a Library of Things near you, where you can borrow all kinds of things for a modest rental fee.

Free sites – we use free sites a lot, both to find things we need but also to give away stuff that we no longer need. Freegle, Freecycle and Facebook Marketplace are the main ones we’ve had success with. You can try browsing or you can put up a wanted post for something specific.

Swap stuff – clothes swaps, sometimes called swishing parties, are good places to get new-to-you clothes and rehome items you no longer need. The ones we’ve been to have been in village halls, with the entry fee being donated to charity. Toy swaps are another way to rehome preloved items.

Online second hand sources – the internet makes it easier to find what you’re looking for by doing a quick search and there are numerous second hand selling sites such as eBay, Facebook, Gumtree, Vinted and Preloved.

Real life second hand sources – if you’re prepared to browse and rummage, you can get all kinds of preloved treasures from charity shops, car boot sales, yard/garage sales, jumble sales and fetes.

Keep a list of stuff you need – whether it’s in your head or written down, a shopping list of items you’re on the look out for can be handy to help you focus on spotting the treasure when there’s lots of overwhelming clutter (such as at a car boot sale).

Don’t beat yourself up if you buy something new – all kinds of factors can lead to buying new – life, urgency, time, convenience etc – but thinking before you buy and making a mindful purchase is part of the process. If you do have to buy new, try to consider the product’s eco-credentials. And ask yourself if it’s good quality that will last and whether it can be repaired. Then use it for as long as possible and rehome or repurpose it when you no long need it.

To conclude, buying nothing new isn’t just for 2022. If you try it, hopefully the challenge will get you thinking differently and more resourcefully, and you will embrace the buy nothing new mindset.

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