Buying Green: The Ecological Impact of Buying Used Furniture Vs. New

Making an Environmentally Sound Decision

Whether in search of essential, functional, or decorative pieces for the home, determining the ecological impact of any furniture can be a tremendous undertaking. There are many things to take into consideration, from the construction of furniture pieces – including the materials they are crafted from – to aspects of furniture production such as sourcing and shipping. When attempting to make an environmentally sound decision for purchasing furniture items, even more factors come into play.

Carbon Footprint

The most obvious difference between new and used furniture is the carbon footprint of each. The footprint of brand new furniture pieces begins with the process of cutting down the trees to make the product (if it is a wood product) and continues on through the manufacturing, shipping, and storage processes. On average, the overall cost of new furniture equates to about 125 tons of CO2 for every 100 rooms outfitted with new furniture. On the other end of the spectrum, less than two tons of CO2 may be produced in the acquisition of used furniture for a space, even when accounting for processes such as shipping and refinishing of the item if necessary.

Sustainable Materials

One of the best ways to start making environmentally sound choices is to choose those made with sustainable materials such as teak or bamboo furniture. Other options such as sustainable and fast-growing hardwoods such as walnut and hickory can make a great addition to any room.

It is true that buying used furniture ensures that no new trees are cut down for the purposes of crafting a new furniture item. You can further decrease the furniture’s overall environmental impact by using woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC Certification ensures that companies don’t use environmentally harmful methods such as clear cutting in the production of the furniture item.

It also is important to remember that many manufacturers craft great new furniture from reclaimed wood or recycled materials. This can be a great option for the buyer seeking an environmentally sound product with a modern appearance and style.

Sustainable Home Design

Furniture items are among the least recycled and account for upwards of 4% of all household waste. Purchasing used furniture helps reduce the amount of waste from furniture that goes into landfills.

However, whether homeowners purchase new or used furniture, purchasing the furniture and planning their home in a sustainable manner can help to reduce waste overall. Choosing durable materials and avoiding materials such as particleboard ensures the longevity of furniture items. Additionally, multi-functional furniture items such as pull out couches and ottomans with additional storage space can reduce the amount of materials sourced to produce multiple furniture items.

Buy Local When Possible

Whether purchasing new or used furniture items, transporting an item a long way leaves behind a large carbon footprint. Often used furniture incurs lower transportation costs than buying new furniture because people typically purchase used furniture closer to home. Production accounts for almost 3 tons of CO2 on average for every 100 rooms of furniture, and shipping the item to the customer adds another 3 tons of the greenhouse gas.


Shoppers can make environmentally-sound, sustainable decisions with their furniture whether they choose to purchase new or used. In the short term, buying new furniture produces about 1,000 times more CO2 emissions than buying used or refurbished furniture. However, opting to use sustainable materials and to optimize the long-term usage of a furniture item can reduce its environmental impact for years down the road.


I’m thinking of doing an internship. Is it worth it?

Whether a recent graduate or current student, competing for entry level positions can get very tough. There are too many students, and too few jobs, and many young people are turning to internships to get valuable work experience. Some people starting out in the workforce find internships invaluable experiences that help them establish a professional network, and some young people end up regretting that they went for an unpaid internship over something that guarantees an income.

What are my rights?
If you are a paid intern, you should have all the same rights as any other employee, unless otherwise stated. Benefits and perks are unlikely to be included in an internship compensation package, so don’t count on dental, stock options, or any other “nice to have” benefit that companies might voluntarily provide. As an intern, you should have support for professional growth, training, and development, as this is the point of an internship. The rights of a paid intern should not differ from a human resources perspective. If the contract is terminated after the probationary period, you should still receive some sort of severance package, and you can file a complaint if you are not given a proper notice period.

If you are thinking of doing an unpaid internship, be aware that from the perspective of HR, you will be looked upon essentially as a volunteer. You aren’t really an employee of the company, you are there to gain experience, so take whatever you can and learn from it. Don’t count on the company to support your learning initiatives, as they aren’t actually investing in you. Don’t be shy about asking for what you need to support your professional development. You are basically paying the company with your time, so make sure that you are getting a return on your investment!

Internships: are they worth it?

Internships are beneficial because the current generation of young people faces a lot of competition, especially when first trying to break into the work force. Anything you can find to differentiate yourself from another student is going to help you get established in your career. Internships can be worth it even just by teaching students how they should act when part of a business or organization. How a business executes projects, how the company operates, and how to communicate to colleagues are all impo
Any form of exposure you can get to a business/organization – how projects are executed, how a company operates, how to communicate. Don’t undervalue the experience even if it feels like you are doing menial work. Corporate exposure will help just by picking up business etiquette – one thing ppl often neglect to focus on. That is grooming and training that you can’t really learn from school. Observe all the physical aspects of people culture, how they sit, how they act, how they dress – this will help you later

Can I afford it?
If you have found an internship that will get your foot in the door of your chosen career and pays you enough to sustain your lifestyle, jump at the chance to establish yourself!

If you are considering an unpaid internship, the question of whether it will be worth it for you is a little more complicated. Consider if you can affort to support yourself with your savings over the term of the internship. If not, how will you fill the gap? Will taking on a part-time job be feasible? Can you save money by living with your family or room mates? Will you be filling the gap with student loans? How much debt will you need to take on to gain work experience, and how long will it take to pay off at an entry level salary? Make sure you crunch the numbers and understand exactly how much debt you will be taking on after buying food, lunches, paying for transportation and rent, your phone, and any other incedentals that won’t go away just because your pay cheque does. Will the debt be justified by a more lucrative career option later? Treat the decision similarly to how you would evaluate whether or not it is worth it to go to a post-secondary institution, as in taking on an unpaid opportunity, you are the one making the investment. Understanding the terms of your investment, both in time and money, is central to deciding whether the investment will be worthwhile.

Categories:Kijiji Jobs, Students

Easy Ways to Maximize Closet Space

There are a lot of things in life that never seem to be enough; hours of sleep, long weekends, and extra cash to spend on spontaneous indulgences – just to name a few.

Now, while we here at Kijiji don’t have the power to give you more of these things, we can however share tips that will help you with another scenario where we never seem to have enough of what we need: closet space.

Anyone with more than a few shirts, pants, and other clothing items can probably share horror stories of having to frantically dig through a crammed rack of clothing in the morning with only a few minutes to spare because you have to be out the door and headed to work for an important meeting, and you haven’t even grabbed your cup of coffee yet.

Even with some basic organizing and strategic folding, closet space still seems pretty scarce, and we’re going to go out on a limb and assume that most of us aren’t exactly in the market for a bedroom-sized walk in closet. To make your life easier and your closet seem a little roomier, here are some simple, cost-effective ways to maximize existing closet space.

Condense, Condense, Condense!

The first step is to really evaluate what’s in your closet and be willing to part ways with those old pieces you’re never going to wear again. We know it can be hard to let go of that 10-year-old sweatshirt from high school or that skirt that just might come back in style, but the key to freeing up space is to only have what’s wearable in there. Organize a yard sale or street sale if you want to make a little cash and bond with your neighbors, or do some good in your community- a quick search for local charities or clothing drives will show you all the local groups that could put your belongings to good use!

Make It A Double!

Most closets have a hanging bar already but most of us are all too familiar with how crowded that one bar ends up getting when everything is hung up there. Putting in a second bar somewhere above the first can not only help spread the bulk of the clothing (making it easier to find what you need) but also maximize closet space by using space that otherwise would be empty.

Don’t Forget about Floors and Doors!

We often see the floor as just the surface our feet walk upon, but when it comes to closet space, floors are a perfect place to put different types of storage containers. There are a whole variety of storage baskets and boxes available that also range in materials, (flexible or sturdy), depending on what it is you have to store. Hats, scarves, handbags, accessories, and other miscellaneous items can be easily stored and accessed in these handy dandy containers. In the same vein, doors are also usually overlooked but they actually can serve as the perfect backdrop for hanging racks and storage pouches to store whatever knick knacks, accessories, or clothing.

When In Doubt, Add Some Light!

We know what you’re thinking. Adding light to a closet can help us maximize space? Well, the thing is, closets are notoriously dark, especially when you burrow into the deep corners where you’ve folded or hung various articles of clothing. By adding a pot light or two, you open the space up visually and chances are you’re going to be able to utilize more space since you can actually see it now!

Get Creative With Hangers!

Gone are the days where hangers hang merely one piece of clothing. These days, single hangers can come with attachments or contain some variation that allow multiple pieces of clothing to hang separately in a way that saves space and is easy to take from. Hangers now also vary in length and size depending on the type of clothing you want to hang, so if you use your imagination, you can definitely get creative with mixing and match, and in the end, you’ll be shocked at how much space gets freed up.

Buying Green: The Ecological Impact of Buying Used HVAC Units vs. New

The Basics of Buying Green

In many instances, purchasing used appliances and other items for the home is a very logical solution. After all, buying used saves on the production of new materials and products while keeping existing items out of landfills. However, when it comes to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, buying green may not be so simple.

HVAC technology has made huge advancements over the past decade. The newest HVAC systems on the market operate with much greater efficiency than their predecessors, and they utilise smart technologies that save overall energy consumption. While it still can be a smart move to purchase certain components of an HVAC system used, the forward-thinking, energy-efficient technologies of the more recent HVAC models often make them a preferable choice for a more environmentally friendly home.

Smart Technology

When most people think of smart HVAC technology, a programmable thermostat is the first thing that comes to mind. Programmable thermostats, which allow you to set when the HVAC system will run and what temperature it will maintain in the house (and some can even set different temperatures in different areas of your house at different times), can offer savings of anywhere from 5 to 15 percent on energy costs.

You can buy a used thermostat to lower both the ecological impact and your costs. Regardless of whether you are purchasing new or used thermostats, however, opting for a programmable one is the most ecologically responsible choice.

Looking for programmable thermostats and other smart HVAC technologies can be an excellent beneficial step towards designing a green HVAC system. Most smart technologies can only be found in newer or more recent models, though some used options may be available with a little searching.

Can I Buy Newer HVAC Models Used?

To achieve your ecological goals for your green home, one of the best things you can do is purchase a used version of a more recent HVAC model. That way you and your home can benefit from the recent energy-efficiencies and smart technologies without the carbon footprint and negative environmental impact of manufacturing a new product and all its components.

Doing research on the most energy-efficient HVAC system components can help you find both new and used items for your home. Remember that while used items keep these components out of landfills, the newer energy-efficient technologies have lower impact on the environment, so if you cannot find a used version of a recent model, it might be best to buy a new one to create the most ecologically-friendly home.

Other Environmentally Friendly HVAC Technologies

If you are not able to purchase a new HVAC system or a used recent model, there are some HVAC technologies that have been around for a while that offer incredible efficiency that they may be perfect for a green home. For example, furnaces that run on biomass (logs, wood pellets, and other similar materials) are simple to use, and they can be found used in great condition.

Because biomass is a renewable resource and it burns clean, its environmental impact is tremendously lower than fuels such as propane and coal. Additionally, biomass can often be found for free, and using it for fuel keeps it out of landfills. Currently, only four percent of energy consumption is through biomass, but fortunately this number has grown in recent years.

What HVAC Components Can Be Bought Used?

An HVAC system is made up of many parts, and while opting for newer components is best in a number of cases, there are many parts of an HVAC system that can be acquired used.

For example, used HVAC ducts that are in good condition (don’t have excessive signs of wear or damage) can serve your home every bit as efficiently as new ones. Various mechanical components, such as fans, also can be purchased used. If you install used components such as these, be sure to verify that the entire HVAC system is working properly and efficiently, as the efficiency of the entire system will make a greater positive ecological impact than the efficiency of a few separate components.

While shopping for parts for the HVAC system, another way to improve your environmental profile is to look for materials to improve insulation and to seal up other parts of your home, such as the windows, to better maintain temperatures within your living space.


What Your Guidance Councillor Isn’t Telling You: 7 Questions to Consider Before You Accept a University Offer of Admission

Accepting or rejecting an offer from a university could be one of the defining moments in your life. What city and school you end up in has long lasting implications: your personal and professional network, your field of work, and what part of the country you settle down in are all heavily informed by your choice of post-secondary school and program. The choice you make under pressure from parents and guidance counselors could be what leads you to meeting your spouse, finding your true calling, being buried in mountains of debt, or falling in love with a new city.

Unappealing as it may be to consider, how much a program will cost (and how much your living expenses will put you into the hole) should be thought out carefully. Can you afford over $1000 every month to rent a studio apartment in Vancouver or Toronto? Will your chosen field (if that is the field you end up in) pay you enough at entry level to pay off the debt amassed from living in one of the most expensive cities in Canada? With Canadian debt levels at an all-time high, and interest rates at a historic low, carrying a large amount of debt may seem normal and unavoidable – and it may be in some cases, but if you can plan for your college or university days not to amass student debts, your future self will thank you.

What Your Guidance Councillor Isn't Telling You

  • Will you be able to find part time work? Will you want to, or need to? Consider the job market in the area, as well as the availability of campus jobs. Will you qualify for a campus job? Some schools have requirements that you be receiving assistance to be eligible to work on campus. If you are considering a school in Quebec, is your French strong enough to be considered employable in the area?
  • What is the cost of an apartment there? What does residence cost? Do you know how much you need to budget on accommodations? Will you be able to sublet your apartment over summer? Research apartment listings near the schools you are considering to get a sense of how much you will be spending monthly. Compare apartment prices with residence costs across the country with this interactive infographic.
  • Do you have the option of commuting to a good school from a family home? If you can walk, drive, bus, or bike to one of your options, consider what you would save by staying with your family versus living on your own. Maybe you will decide it is not worth the savings, but go into the decision fully informed, after carefully weighing the option and running the numbers.
  • Do you expect to travel home for every school break or holiday? Do you know what the average cost is to go from the location of your school to your family home? Is the distance small enough that you can get sale bus tickets, or would you need to fly or take the train? Can you afford it? If not, will family members help you cover the costs, or are you willing to go into debt to travel home?
  • Are you taking out a student loan? Will you be borrowing from family? What will the repayment terms be? What is your interest rate? How much will you be paying off after school is finished, and how much of that will be interest? Use an interest rate calculator and get a sense of what your finances will look like after graduation.
  • Will the program you are considering actually help you find a job? Will the school you attend impress employers in your field? Will the school and program be a good investment in your future? How much are you likely to make if you are fortunate enough to find entry level work in your chosen field? If you have no idea how much money you might be making, check out sites like Glassdoor or job listings in your area.
  • Are internships required by the program? Will they be paid? If not, can you afford to spend a large portion of your summer doing unpaid work? Will an internship be worth it for your long term career? If not, is there an option for a program that does not require unpaid internships?
  • Do you actually want to go there? Are you being influenced by parents, friends, a partner, or a teacher? Think seriously about whether you would be considering the option seriously if others in your life were not vocally in support of it, and whether these people have your best interests (or their own) at heart. You are the one that will have to live with your choice, and the people who influence you now may not be someone who will continue to be a large part of your life, even if you heed their advice.
  • With so many programs to choose from, and so much pressure to decide quickly, making the choice can be overwhelming. Almost no one has their entire life plan figured out in their senior year of high school, and those that do will likely revise it heavily in the future. If you have yet to figure out your path, don’t fret, but be sure to go into your choice with your eyes wide open.