The second-hand market is proving to be an effective way to reduce impacts on the planet, limiting waste and cutting CO2 emissions.
Reducing CO2 emissions and thus opposing climate change is possible by implementing different strategies. The concept which everyone, even with little actions, can contribute to help limit our impact on the planet, is growing fast among people in recent years. Sometimes, however, it is thought that great sacrifices are needed to contribute to this cause and that in reality reducing CO2 emissions and safeguarding the planet are the responsibility of the major players in the world economy.
However, this is a half-truth: without global policies, it is doubtful to achieve significant and rapid progress; however, everyone can do a little to limit the damage to the planet, such as changing our purchasing habits and taking more often into account the second-hand market. This was demonstrated by Subito.it, the online buying and selling platform, and the results of the Second-Hand Effect 2019 research by to the Swedish Institute for Environmental Research ILV. The investigation was carried out through the LCA method, that is a products' life cycle analysis, which helps to calculate the environmental impact - expressed in CO2 kilograms - on the assumption that the sale of second-hand products replaces the brand-new equivalent goods.
This leads thinking that purchasing a second-hand product saves the CO2 emissions that would have been necessary for the disposal of that same object and the production of a new unit. This good practice allows not only worldwide citizens (or in this case Italians) to reduce CO2 emissions, but also to cut the consumption of raw materials. In particular, subito's study highlighted how in 2019 the second-hand economy saved 2.8 million tons of steel, about 270,000 tons of aluminium and about 420,000 tons of plastic.
This leads to total savings of 7.25 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which means that almost 1 million Italians performed 0 environmental impacts. About the results of the survey, Giuseppe Pascieri - CEO of Subito.it - states that "Second-hand economy actually allows us to contribute to the well-being of our planet. It is manageable and everyone can do this, to fight climate change in the end. Thanks to all our users who, with over 20 million sales - for instance, a T-shirt saves 7.2 kg of CO2 - contributed to the production of 7.25 million tons of CO2. It is the same result as if we would have planted an 8,700-acre forest or blocked the traffic in Rome for 22 months!".
The study also showed that such results are assigned to different regions of Italy only. The most likely Italians who sell and buy second-hand products are Campania residents - who contributed to 15.3% of all the CO2 emissions saved - and Lombard citizens, who saved the 14%. Subsequently, the region of Lazio, Sicily and Veneto.