Reversing the bias against reuse
Last Friday it was my birthday and middle child got me a rather wonderful vintage cycling top from our rather wonderful new(wish) local vintage shop, Flea Circus. So I just had to take the day off with Mrs K and cycle around some of my favourite cafes and pubs to try it out.
Of course what ‘vintage’ really means is ‘second hand and stylish’. Such words are imbued with bias. I grew up in a culture where “Where did you get that shirt? Oxfam? Huh, huh, huh.” was a standard playground taunt, whereas Mrs K, who was raised in a low income household, spent her teenage years (and the years since) rummaging through charity shops to find style at minimal cost. I love the fact that you will find stuff in vintage shops that you will see nowhere else (particularly when Mrs K’s birthday hoves into view).
In the popular press, it is quite normal for the word ‘recycling’ to mean a celebrity wearing the same dress twice but with different accessories, which shows the cultural bias towards ‘new’. While it is unlikely that vintage shops will drive the circular economy by themselves, I think they do a fantastic job in reducing the prejudice against pre-owned items.
I’ve said it a million times, the biggest barrier to Sustainability is the 6 inches between our ears. Reversing the bias against recovered items is an important objective in our mission. Choose your words carefully!