Purchasing eco-friendly goods doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go to an up-scale store. Even if a store only sells eco-friendly, sustainable goods, it still has overhead costs and operating costs that increase both the store's carbon footprint and your own if you shop there. These overhead costs also increase the price of the goods. If you really want to go eco-friendly, EnviroCitizen.org suggests you consider going to yard sales.
Yard sales are a great, eco-friendly way to buy things because your purchase won't increase your carbon footprint. With new goods, even if they're sustainably made or organic, they still require manufacturing. It takes energy to create new stuff and that energy creates a carbon footprint. For example, if you buy an organic t-shirt, machines were still used to harvest the cotton, process it and turn it into a wearable garment. Then, the organic t-shirt was transported from wherever it was made to a store near you. All of this activity and travel translates into a big carbon footprint. If you buy a shirt at a yard sale, there is no new energy being used to create that shirt.
Yard sales are also a great choice because they are much more economical than if you were to purchase new at a store. Most people who host yard sales price items at very reasonable costs because they are used. Yard sales are, primarily a way to get rid of things that are no longer in use without wasting them by disposing of them. Therefore, the prices are very affordable.
You are also supporting and stimulating your local economy when you purchase items at yard sales. The person who hosted the yard sale will then take that money and go out and buy more stuff. So, in a sense you're helping to make your community thrive by buying at yard sales.
EnviroCitizen.org's favorite key point is that yard sales are eco-friendly because items are being reused. You have probably heard the popular environmentalist mantra, "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." The practice of reusing goods is probably the most important component of that mantra because it's the most efficient. Reducing the use of something is good, but it doesn't eliminate the total use. Recycling is also great, but once something is recycled it needs to be processed into something else which takes energy.
Reusing is obviously the most eco-friendly option. By reusing something, you are extending the life of perfectly good items and keeping those items out of landfills. You're also not increasing your carbon footprint, as you would if you bought something brand new. EnviroCitizen.org has found that yard sales are a simple, fun way to shop, remain economical and be eco-friendly at the same time!