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Tips on shopping sustainably

Published: 17 August 2018

It can be so tempting to buy that new top, appliance or gadget but it’s worth asking if you really need it, whether an existing item could do the job already, or whether second-hand is a better option.

Here are some of the easiest ways to save some serious money and prevent waste:

Mend that busted zip

Every year volumes of quality used clothing are sent to landfill when a simple repair job would have returned them to their former glory.

While some of us are great with a needle and thread, many of us need a helping hand:

  • Find a tailor or alteration service. Getting things professionally mended is cheaper than you think and Auckland has hundreds of local tailor shops.
  • Check if the shop you bought it from does repairs. More and more clothing retailers are starting to offer a repair service. If your favourite shop doesn’t fix things, ask them to consider it.
  • Learn how to mend it. Come along to one of the Sew Sustainable and Conscious Layers upcycling events and learn some sewing skills from their experts (plus, there's usually tea and nibbles provided too).

Borrow or hire it

If you only need something for a short time, you can rent or borrow nearly anything these days:

  • Need a special outfit? Want to go designer without the cost? Consider renting it. Good places to start are FrasercroweDesigner WardrobeOh Rent Me and Lend the Label.
  • Kids bored with their toys? Refresh the play box with something from your local Toy Library.
  • Need to furnish a short-term flat? Hiring your kitchen, laundry or entertainment appliances is a great option.

Repair your broken gadgets

Toaster on the blink? Weed whacker not cutting it? There's a DIY fix-it guide for almost everything on ifixit.com.

But if you prefer to have an expert take a look, bring it along to a local Repair Café event. Broken lamps, furniture, kettles and computer screens are just some of the things that have been fixed for free by their volunteers. 

Follow the Auckland Repair Café on Facebook to find out more, or head to their events:

  • Highbury House, Birkenhead, Sunday 9 September
  • Gribblehirst Hub, Sandringham, Sunday 28 October

Make a Live Lightly pledge 

There are plenty more ideas about mindful shopping on the Live Lightly website.

Take the pledge to buy nothing for a month, rehome items you don’t need anymore, or go second hand for that next spot of retail therapy.