When I taught in the innercity I was surprised that the kids did not understand why I used scrap paper. I’d give them the back of a piece of paper to make a note and the kid would get out a new piece of paper and offer to buy me a notebook instead. It seemed that anything used was considered for poor people, but the irony is that people who reuse and buy used are resourceful, and resourcefulness is a key to acquiring wealth. Penny pinchers often have more pennies then spendthrifts.
I scour yard sales, take hand-me-downs, and look for furniture on Craigslist. It’s not because I can’t afford new. It’s because I believe that wasting money is bad but worse is a walnut dresser with mirror sitting in a landfill while I buy a walnut dresser with mirror downtown. You’ve heard the campaign: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Even if you can afford new, why not reduce waste? That’s what we believe at 4 the World. We are taking donated items to Belize this summer, not because we believe that the people do not deserve new items, but because we believe all people, rich and poor, should be resourceful and not wasteful. Reusing items is not only a financially sound decision; it is an environmentally sound one too.