The environmental case for reuse

Many people think of Junket as a vintage shop (it’s true! We are!).

What most people don’t realize, though, is that we’re also a social enterprise (a for-profit business that measures success not only in terms of financials, but also in terms of results in solving social and environmental problems).

And we think it’s time that more people learned a bit about this aspect of our business, because it’s the part that matters most.

In short, we’re using this vintage shop as a way to explore solutions to global issues of climate disruption and resource depletion. We’re doing this by creating and testing scalable systems and sourcing/developing carbon-negative products that, by virtue of their appeal, utility, and ease of access, reduce demand for newly manufactured replacements, thus avoiding the release of more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Feeling a little lost by the jargon? We’re eager to explain:

Climate disruption is happening, and we’re already experiencing its consequences as storms increase in volatility and interfere with lives and livelihoods with increasing frequency. Most impactful of the greenhouse gases creating climate disruption is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels.

Furthermore, water scarcity has gone from being something that happens to other people (easier to ignore when it’s ‘only’ happening in a third-world country) — to something we are having to actively address in our own lives and communities.

The manufacture of any newly manufactured product (be it a pair of new blue jeans or a paper clip) requires the acquisition of raw or recycled materials, the processing of raw or recycled materials, product construction, product packaging, and product shipment (whether wholesale, retail, or directly to you) in order to become part of your life.

In most cases, manufacturers are using fossil fuels to run the plants — and water to process the raw or recycled materials — that result in these manufactured goods.

This means that your individual purchase of something new – even if it’s recycled – has just added to our shared global issues of climate disruption and resource depletion.

Sobering. And true. Here’s why:

In this age of high-tech manufacturing, your purchases at data-driven companies (all of the big boxes, and increasingly at smaller shops) trigger new manufacturing as soon as the bar code is swiped at the register — where sophisticated supply chain systems receive this data and automatically order replacement product. When this happens, your singular purchase has just the data stream of similar purchases by hundreds/thousands of others  to determine the next production run (sooner than later, thanks to your purchase).

Even if you’re buying locally handmade product, the makers of these goods are having to source materials from somewhere — and if these makers are sourcing new materials from Michael’s instead of choosing to produce goods made from upcycled, reused, or repurposed content, your demand for their product likewise triggers this unfortunate chain of events (even as it feels good to support someone local…).

This is why reuse (choosing products that are either previous used, or entirely/nearly-so made using secondhand materials) matters so much as an individual choice.

It’s also why we don’t sell product that doesn’t actively include secondhand materials.

Because when you choose something that already exists, not only do you help keep it out of the landfills (which most of us already recognize as a huge problem), but you also avoid contributing to the production cycles that further exacerbate our climate situation, water issues, and more.

Of course, we know that’s not always easy (nor convenient) — and that brings us back to our little experiment of a vintage shop. Our whole goal is to make it easier for people to have easier access to high quality used goods – and responsibly handmade product – in a world where you can get anything you want, in any color you want, brand new — but where finding that thing that you need (without buying it via amazon) could result in an extended, fruitless quest through estate sales and flea markets…

So- we’re working on it. When you visit, you’ll notice that while there’s a lot of fun stuff, we serve up a range of practical, well-made basics — like kitchen tools, and hardware, and paper clips. And we’re working to improve our assortment (and to develop better systems for managing the flow of product into the shop), because demand isn’t going to be getting any smaller as more of us are personally impacted – and made more aware – by our shared existential crisis…

We totally agree that vintage treasures are often more attractive — and almost always better made than their contemporary replacements — but for us, the environmental factors *alone* are worth the effort of keeping these treasures available and in use — and we’re pretty sure the kids would agree.

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