This paper argues for the direct reuse of products as the most sustainable form of consumption, over and above recycling and the use of greener technology. Baby clothes, toys and equipment are perfectly suited to entering the second-hand market as their useful life often extends beyond the needs of one family. One in five parents have acquired a greater number of second-hand items for their children since the onset of the 2009 financial crisis; therefore, parents are engaging in sustainable consumption practices. This empirical study investigates the extent to which mothers engage in second-hand consumption practices and the environmental impact this has. Thirty mothers were recruited for in-depth interviews. Whilst primary justifications were almost universally found to be financial, participants showed a strong ethical desire to reuse items which, by their very nature, had not reached the end of their useful life before being made redundant by the family.
Keywords: sustainability, sustainable consumption, second-hand consumption, thrift, parenting, ecological footprint, green economics, consumer