Buying and selling second-hand items eliminated at least 224,695 tonnes of UK CO2 emissions last year
New data from the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute shows the positive environmental benefits of buying second-hand items from online marketplaces
Friday, June 5, 2020
- New data from the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute shows the positive environmental benefits of buying second-hand items from online marketplaces
Impact is equivalent to cutting more than 261,000 transatlantic passenger journeys, or brewing 9.86 billion cups of coffee
Meanwhile, second-hand sales across Europe saved the use of 1.4 billion plastic bags’ worth of plastic and six Eiffel Towers’ worth of steel
This World Environment Day, second-hand marketplace Shpock has partnered with the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute to calculate the total CO2 emissions saved by Brits opting to buy second-hand items, including fashion, electronics and cars, instead of new.
The report found that thanks to consumers opting to buy second-hand items in place of new ones, at least 224,695 tonnes of CO2 emissions were saved last year. That sizeable reduction only accounts for second-hand purchases made in the UK through Shpock, meaning that total reductions due to second-hand transactions could be higher still.
The findings, part of Shpock’s Secondhand Effect Report, also investigated the impact of different categories of products. For example, Brits opting to buy second-hand phones and accessories saved 3,553 tonnes of CO2, while buying second-hand electronics and computers saved a further 22,840 tonnes.
It’s not just electronics either, as second-hand fashion cut emissions last year by 10,072 tonnes of CO2, while second-hand home and garden products saved 61,041 tonnes of CO2 in emissions.
Shpock’s Secondhand Effect Report also looked at the raw materials saved by not creating new items that were instead bought and sold online. The report found that second-hand transactions saved 10,131 tonnes of plastic, 46,743 tonnes of steel, and 6,321 tonnes of aluminium. That’s enough steel to build six Eiffel Towers, enough aluminium to make 424 million drinks cans, and enough plastic to make 1.4 billion plastic bags.
Esteve Jané, CEO of Shpock, comments: “Buying and selling second-hand items isn’t just a great way to save or make money, it’s also one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. While the individual carbon reductions from a single second-hand transaction might be modest, our research has shown that when added up, foregoing buying brand new items made a major positive contribution to UK consumers’ CO2 emissions. As we all look to make small changes that reduce our impact on the environment, choosing to buy or sell fashion, electronics and cars second-hand is one of the best ways to do your part.”
ABOUT THE CALCULATIONS
The Second Hand Effect calculations were carried out by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, which analysed the items sold on the websites by composition of materials and by their respective environmental impacts. The calculation is based on the assumption that each second-hand transaction would result in a similar, new item not being produced and disposed.
ABOUT IVL SWEDISH ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute is an independent, non-profit environmental research institute owned by a foundation established by the Swedish state and industry. Since 1966 the institute has been developing new solutions to environmental problems at both national and international level.
Andrew Rogers or Lauren Williamson at Allison+Partners