Second hand is good as new

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The ReUse Room, located in Cramer Hall, offers an assortment of school and office supplies. Students are also welcome to donate unneeded supplies. Jeoffry Ray/PSU Vanguard

My jeans have the faded and ingrained outline of an iPhone 4 in the left front pocket. I store my phone in my right front pocket and currently use an iPhone 5. The reason for the clash? I am not the first owner of these pants.

Some have reservations or hesitations about wearing worn or secondhand clothing or owning used items. Friends and family have been reluctant to do so on the grounds it has the potential to be a dirty habit and is probably dangerous to one’s health.

Let’s be real about this for a second. Nervous about what germs that Slayer shirt might have? Run it through the washer and dryer before wearing it out on the town. Uncomfortable about where that pen might have been? Chances are pretty good that the worst place it’s ever been was on the floor of a Trimet bus. Give it a quick clean and get to writing, because it’s nothing to be grossed out over.

Sure, you may come across something gross every once in a while, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

Reusing is a sustainable and more environmentally friendly way to buy things and keep them out of landfills. Studies show that the United States sends up to 10.5 million tons of textiles to landfills every year. In terms of school and office supplies, paper makes up nearly 27 percent of municipal solid waste, making it the most thrown away material in the country.

Reusing and recycling clothing and supplies is not only sustainable and helpful to the planet, but it also saves money. Buying or using secondhand goods breathes new life into previously abandoned things and expands your wardrobe and desk drawers without emptying your purse.

For those who are able to overcome hesitations and want to make more environmentally conscious shopping decisions, there are, fortunately, plenty of options for obtaining previously owned goods.

On campus, Portland State has the ReUse Room, a volunteer-driven resource for giving and getting supplies for school, office and home. Located in room 180 of Cramer Hall, the ReUse Room’s doors are always open for students and PSU community members.

The ReUse Room also hosts the Mug Runners program, which collects coffee mugs abandoned on campus and redistributes them through the ReUse Room.

Off campus, there are even more options available. Living in Portland means we are fortunate enough to have a seemingly endless list of resources when it comes to reusing and recycling. There are almost too many used clothing, furniture and consignment stores to list. A quick Google or Yelp search will provide you with plenty of options to help you find what you’re after.

And speaking of web searches, we aren’t living in the Dark Ages any more. Thanks to the Internet, you don’t even have to leave your home to find great secondhand goods. Websites like Craigslist, Reddit and eBay are great resources for you to find new things to use and love.

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