Go Green Challenge: Go Used

by Angela Davis on April 29, 2013


Welcome to our Go Green Challenge: 4 Weeks to an Earth-Friendly Home! Find more posts from this series here.
Welcome to Week Two of our Go Green Challenge! I am happy to report that the mad-recycling and diligent composting is making a significant difference in our garbage output!


Ladies and gentlemen, that is less than half of what we sent to the landfill last Monday morning. It’s probably a full kitchen bag’s worth of garbage and over half of that are disposable diapers. I might be turning into one of those crazy people who reduce garbage service to once-a-month once Lucy is doing her business on the toilet.

Here’s what was recycled curbside:


About half a cart. And here’s what’s sitting in our “can this stuff be recycled?” bin:


I’m fairly certain about half will end up in the garbage, but I’ll let Shelly sort all of that out. That might make for a fun video to share :).

Now it’s time to discuss the focus of Week Two: Go Used.

I am totally intrigued by people who are committed to buying nothing new. I was introduced to the idea from Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate. Katy is committed to buying nothing new, except for a handful of items. I always wanted to give this buy-only-used thing a shot, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how I would fit that into my life. How was I going to dig through thrift stores for a bread machine or buy a new shirt when I had 3-5 children with me? That sounded horrible. So off to Target, Costco, Walmart I went.

I am finally at a place where experimenting with different secondhand options is interesting and even exciting. Maybe I’m just not as sleep deprived as I once was. I am looking forward to not only saving money, but exploring how my obsession with “new” impacts other people and unnecessarily depletes our natural resources. We will discuss buying secondhand clothes, how to completely dominate Craigslist, how to repurpose what you already have in your home, and more!

Where are your favorite places to get great secondhand items?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

emmer May 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

freecycle is alive and well in pdx metro. also, my bulk foods buying group occasionally sends out info about a wonderful deal someone in the group has.


Pam April 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm

If you use a company like Terracycle you could send even more. Our school Minter Bridge in Hillsboro is signed up and I am the one who does the program. I would love to invite anyone who is local to join us. I have a flier with a list of all the products we recycle for $ for the kids at our school. Their are so many things that we recycle that to lots of people is just garbage. If you are interested please feel free to email me at pamelahbrandt@yahoo.com


Sherry April 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I go to a second-hand kids’ store called Other Mothers. Twice a month, they have their 25 cent sale where they dump piles & piles of clothes (and other stuff) that they can’t take (stained, torn or not in season) and people don’t want to lug back home with them. All the items are 25 cents and the proceeds benefit local charities…all the leftovers are even given to various emergency shelters! It takes some time and I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone with 2-3 kids in tow…I can now only go with my 7-year-old daughter & not my son or husband…he has the least amount of patience for this kind of thing! It is mind-numbing & soothing at the same time to just stand there and paw through all the stuff looking for that one great item. I usually pick up some play clothes for the kids – things I don’t mind if they wear once, wash & toss in the rag bag – for just a dollar or two & usually with credit from other items I’ve brought in so my OOP is zero. I also find very nice items that are just out of season and have been known to buy items just for their buttons – which can be quite expensive at the fabric store. I once found a brand new Gap sundress for my daughter in December. I paid a whopping $.25 and when she outgrew it, they gave me $1.50 credit for it. It’s addictive!!


Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate April 30, 2013 at 10:21 am


We need to do a Goodwill trip together!



Kate from Frugal Living NW April 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm

How fun! Can I video it? :)


charolyn April 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I do know you can recycle “clam shell” type plastic at New Seasons. The container on top with the lid that strawberries possibly came in is an example. Our recycling center in Hillsboro until very recently took most other types of plastic (besides the ones you can do in curb side), but is suspended as there isn’t a good market for them now. Over the years, I have seen this come and go.


Abby April 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I just remodeled my main bathroom with products from ReBuild in North Portland. I was able to get a vanity, counter top, sink, faucet, lightfixture, and misc odds and ends for just $105. Granted I chose tosplurge and purchase a new dual flush toilet from Costco for $80 that qualifies for a rebate from the water company. I have a thing about used toilets and at least I will be getting the rebate back. Patience is the name of the game even when the faucet breaks and ruins the vanity, at least there is that supply of hand sanitizer in the supply stash.


Stefanie April 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm

There are lots of great consignment stores in the Portland area that sell used goods for good prices. I like visiting garage/ yard sales – finally starting up again now that its nice out! – as well.


liz April 29, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Garage sales and Value Village.


Ashley P April 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Those jar lids are steel and should be able to go where ever you put your steel cans.(they have a lining but so do the cans it’s what keeps them from rusting inside out but it is also a source of bpa controversy).


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