A scale that is made up of half nature and half coins.

Did you know pawn shops have always been at the forefront of sustainability? For thousands of years, pawn shops around the world have provided an easy way to recycle and contribute to the circular economy while providing customers quick ways to obtain currency. In today’s world, that means cash.

Pawn shops are one of the most sustainable businesses out there. Instead of throwing away merchandise, items can be taken to a pawn shop to be used as collateral for a pawn loan or sold outright for fast and easy cash. This temporarily reduces landfill space by extending the life of these goods so other customers can benefit from this gently used merchandise.

Additionally, pawn shops are great alternatives when purchasing goods. Instead of buying brand-new merchandise, people can purchase gently used items or secondhand goods from a pawn shop! And by purchasing these gently used items, instead of buying new, these goods get another life. Not to mention buying pre-owned merchandise reduces the amount of carbon emissions because people are buying something that has already been manufactured. By shopping at a pawn shop people reduce their carbon footprint! It’s a win-win!


A green piggy bank.

Today’s shoppers are focused on sustainability. It’s a high priority on their lists of why they shop where they do. This is due to the spotlight now being focused on the throwaway economy: clothes, non-reusable plastics, e-waste, and much more!

So, what is the throw-away economy?

The pervasiveness of consumer goods that only last for a short period of time has led to the creation of this new term. When goods stop working or are no longer relevant, they get thrown away and replaced with new goods. This leads to an offshoot of negative consequences for people and the environment. As a result, many consumers have begun to push back, and for good reason!

Led by Generation Z (Gen Z), today’s shoppers are prioritizing the importance of sustainability. According to ThredUp’s 2022 Resale Report, “consumers are prioritizing sustainability, retailers are starting to embrace resale, and policymakers are getting on board with the circular economy.” This is great news as pawn shops have been doing this since the industry began roughly 3,000 years ago in ancient China! In fact, pawn shops are probably one of the first businesses contributing to the circular economy as the business model revolves around it.

Younger generations are now starting to give more thought to their carbon footprints. They care much less about stigmas associated with used items. This is because younger shoppers are more aware and conscious of how significant their impact is on the global environment due to the rise and importance of climate change because of peer activists like Greta Thunberg. This is a huge shift in behavior as previous consideration of the environment did not necessarily drive commercial purchases. And now conscientious shoppers are looking for alternatives to do some of their shopping.

One of these places is a pawn shop! For over 45 years, EZPAWN has provided an alternative for shoppers who do not wish to purchase new goods from a traditional retailer. By providing an outlet for the resale of millions of items, EZPAWN has kept this merchandise out of landfills and oceans! See our list of common secondhand goods.

In fact, if everyone bought one pre-loved item instead of a new one, we’d reduce billions of pounds of waste from our planet. In 2021 alone, EZPAWN worked to recycle more than 5 million pre-loved items across its family of brands. For this reason, and many others, pawn shops are vital to a sustainable economy. Next up, let’s see how pawn shops prevent HUGE amounts of e-waste.


A pile of electronics sits in the trash while a woman places a hairdryer on top.

As the economy becomes increasingly dependent on technology and the electronics that come along with that, more raw materials – a lot more - are required to produce them! How these electronic materials are gathered is something most are unfamiliar with. So, let’s jump into both the problem and the solution of how pawn shops can help alleviate e-waste.


It’s been known for some time that humans are altering the biosphere – the surface of the planet, the atmosphere, and the hydrosphere. All these spheres are occupied by living organisms big and small. Anything humans do affects these spheres. One exponentially growing problem is e-waste.

E-waste (electronic waste) is a popular name for electronic products nearing the end of their “useful lifes.” The term “useful” is subjective. More often than not, it’s a cover for “I want the newest thing.” Cell phones, televisions, computers, stereos, and copiers are common electronic products. However, most of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. Yet, they still end up in landfills.

Another problem comes from the creation of these products. For example, there are more cell phones than people on the planet. In order to manufacture these products, a huge amount of metal is required to make them. Metal is extracted from the earth, often from a mine. These mines create massive destruction to the environment in more ways than can be described in this article; here are just a handful of effects:

  • Clearing-cutting forests - This logging practice destroys entire ecosystems and animal habitats as machinery cuts every tree rather than trees that need cutting (also called selective cutting). Another side effect is erosion as tree roots, which hold the soil together, are removed from the earth.
  • Raw chemicals - Arsenic, hydrochloric acid, and other harmful waste runs off the mines and seeps into surrounding communities affecting aquifers, streams, rivers, and crops.
  • Labor conditions – These are usually poorly regulated and involve child workers, unsafe environmental conditions, long hours, and low wages.
  • Fossil fuels – When fossil fuels are burned, they create carbon emissions. These emissions are spewed from machinery to unearth, transport, and then manufacture precious metals. If wanting a better idea of what this entails, do a quick Google image search of “Battery mine.” It’s not pretty!

As you can see, rare earth mining has huge effects on the planet. But these activities are deemed necessary to maintain our current standard of living around the world today. It’s both significant and devastating for the earth and its population!


It’s not all bad! Now that e-waste is becoming a bigger problem, many people, organizations, and companies are attempting to solve it.

Pawn shops are one of those companies. And they have been for some time. Pawn shops offer solutions to customers who don’t want to contribute to e-waste. Instead of throwing away “old” electronics, people can pawn or sell them to a pawn shop as pawn shops, and many of our existing customers, continue to see the value of these items past the point of previous owners that pawned or sold them.

1 in 4 Americans admit to having several old cell phones gathering dust in their drawers and cupboards. These old devices can be sold to EZPAWN ! Not only can customers feel good about recycling these devices to benefit the environment, but they also walk away with cash in hand and more space in their houses!


A woman is holding up a white piece of paper with the words, “reuse,” “reduce,’ and “recycle” on it.

EZPAWN embodies the sustainability motto: reduce, reuse, recycle. As stated in the introduction, pawn shops have been around for thousands of years reducing, reusing, and recycling merchandise. Here’s how:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle – Pawn shops are a one-stop shop for this motto. Whether pawning, selling, or purchasing, customers can be sure they’re reducing their impacts on the environment. This is because pawn shops reuse and recycle merchandise and have done so since the industry began.
  • Pre-owned merchandise is already available - When transacting with a pawn shop, customers are not purchasing something brand new. As a result, they’re extending the life of pre-owned merchandise. This prevents a significant number of items from ending up in landfills as well as the need to manufacture new items.

When considering environmental impact, it's really a no-brainer to shop at a pawn shop. What better way to reduce, reuse, and recycle!


A man is holding a small globe in his hands that sits on a green leaf.
  • Electronics – As stated above, e-waste is a global problem. By selling or pawning your gently used electronics, you are saving the environment in more ways than one. Read the above e-waste section to get a better understanding of how beneficial it is to buy, sell or pawn electronics for the planet.
  • Luxury Goods - Like most goods these days, they go out of fashion quickly. So quickly in fact that in a few years’ time, it becomes popular again! What better way to save some money and give these luxury goods a longer shelf life than to buy from or pawn or sell to a pawnshop? Some of these items include handbags, shoes, fur coats, and designer clothes and accessories. Save the planet one luxury item at a time! Visit a pawn shop today!
  • Sports Equipment – These items rarely go out of fashion. Sure, newer items are produced yearly, but often the upgrades are minimal to justify that new price tag. That’s why going to a pawn shop should be your first stop. Not only will you get it cheaper, but you’ll also help the planet by creating less demand and therefore fewer carbon emissions.
  • Jewelry – Jewelry may never go out of style. These items can be passed down for generations to come. And if you find yourself not wanting some pieces you have in your possession, you can pawn them for some extra cash, or outright sell them to a pawn shop.
  • Kitchen Appliances (mixers, air fryers, crockpots) – Kitchen appliances are notorious for ending up in landfills. Yet they are still useable. Therefore buying, pawning, or selling from a pawnshop does a tremendous service to the planet.
  • Lawn Equipment – There are many items in this category: lawnmowers, weed eaters, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers. And each year new products are “updated” yet they are functionally the same. Therefore, shopping at a pawn shop, before buying something new, is ideal for you and the environment.
  • Air Conditioning Units – Each year countless AC units make their way into landfills when they could be resold in pawn shops. As they are a seasonal item, you can get the best deals on AC units in the winter (before summer demand rises). Help the earth out while saving big by purchasing from a pawn shop!

As you can see, EZPAWN is your neighborhood recycler! We take products that would otherwise get thrown out and breathe new life into them. By upcycling these goods, we create less demand for new products while making what’s already created last longer! It seems simple; however, we still have a long way to go. Nevertheless, EZPAWN pawn shops are doing our part to grow the circular economy!


Coins are sitting in the dirt with plants on top of them.

For thousands of years, pawn shops have been contributing to sustainability while providing customers quick ways to obtain cash! Though many do not know this, even today!

However, this is beginning to change. Young shoppers have quickly realized the havoc the throwaway economy is causing. These young shoppers are now second-hand shopping at pawn shops as a sustainable solution to this problem!

Another significant problem wreaking havoc on the environment is e-waste. Electronic waste that ends up in landfills causes a whole list of problems. Nonetheless, as this problem grows (much like other products), it’s becoming more important in the eyes of consumers to reduce their e-waste. Therefore, shoppers are taking gently used electronics to pawn shops to reduce their carbon footprints and get a pocket full of cash on the way out the door!

Pawn shops have been reducing, reusing, and recycling since before that movement even existed. Many are unaware of that fact, but today that is changing and EZPAWN is proud to have been contributing to the solution for over 45 years!

In all, as we require more and more resources to maintain our standard of living, we also contribute to more environmental destruction. However, pawn shops offer a significant solution to most of these problems. If you’re wanting to earn some cash and not throw away gently used merchandise, consider pawning or selling it. If wanting name-brand merchandise that seems out of reach, first look to a pawn shop as prices are much less expensive than buying new. Pawn shops are saving shoppers money while saving the environment. Sustainable living has never been so EZ!