Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have already passed in their flurry of head-spinning discounts, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still score some major deals on holiday shopping.
And what better deal than the eco-satisfaction of purchasing an item bound for the landfill and reusing or repurposing it, especially if you can turn it into a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one? Shopping secondhand makes your eco-conscience feel good, and it’s even better when you can get it for cheap. Am I right?
Sit tight sister (or brother)! You don’t have to hit your local thrift store to find used goodies; you can do it right from your computer. These four websites offer similar items to those found at thrift stores, flea markets and antique malls—at comparable prices. And you don’t even have to leave your couch. (Hey. It’s ok to be a couch potato sometimes.)
Get to surfing the Web for unique eco-holiday gifts with these websites, you thrifty thang.
This nifty website offers all of its products for one price—free! Not too shabby, huh? On Freecycle, members can post unwanted items that they’d like to get rid of, or they can post wanted ads for items that they need. Items include everything from mattresses to baby clothes to electronics—anything people think someone else could reuse. If you're crafty, this website is a great way to find materials to repurpose items into one-of-a-kind gifts.
The Freecycle philosophy aims to keep usable items out of landfills and promote generosity through giving. Trading isn’t allowed; it’s all about giving it away for free. Made up of local groups, with each group moderated by local volunteers, users search for items based on their areas.
This famous online marketplace is a giant. It boasts more than 97 million users worldwide, and in 2010 had sales of more than $2,000 every second. eBay’s sheer number of goods makes it a great place to shop around for bargains if you already know what gift you plan to buy.
If you’re in a green mood (and when aren’t you?), scour the website’s online auctions and buy-it-now listings for used, vintage or antique goods. You can also find new items at (typically) discounted prices. But why not go eco and buy secondhand stuff if you can? Many items such as dishes and home décor look just as good as their brand new counterparts.
Etsy allows its sellers to set up their own virtual shops, complete with customized banners and names. Unlike eBay, the website only sets items at one price, like a store. There’s no auction feature.
Etsy only allows sellers to offer vintage items, handmade goods or craft supplies. Because of these restrictions this website has some seriously beautiful items. From handmade jewelry to one-of-a-kind paintings to vintage purses, Etsy is the place to go when looking for gifts for the women in your life.
And you can feel good about buying from its sellers. Its vibrant community of artists and vintage sellers wouldn’t be able to showcase their work to such a wide audience without this website.
For all you eco freaks out there, ecofreek.com scours the Internet for listings for free items, swappable items or items available to trade. If you’re searching for gifts it could take some digging, so don’t wait until the last minute on this one. You can search by state and city.
You can also opt to have ecofreek.com send an alert to you by text message or email when the search engine locates items that you specify.
Once you find all of your green goods, don't forget to wrap your gifts eco-style.
Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_hudson