A recent report reviewing the economic impact of solid waste related industries and businesses in Eugene and Lane County revealed that the used merchandise industry contributes $16.1 million to Eugene’s economy, and $26.1 million to Lane County’s. The study also noted that Eugene stands out for the strength of its used merchandise industry which includes used books, appliances, furniture, antiques, and clothes.
According to the study, Eugene employs five times the number of people in the used merchandise industry compared to the rest of Oregon. Nationally, compared to the 648 counties for which data are available, Lane County has the second highest percent of total employment in the used merchandise industry, second only to St. Clair County, Alabama.
While the study did not investigate why this sector of Eugene’s economy is so robust, it noted that there may be cultural factors fueling the used good market or a community preference for environmentally friendly goods. A recent study conducted as part of the City’s Community Climate and Energy Action Plan found a growing awareness and support for more sustainable consumption in Eugene. Results from the study of local attitudes indicate an emerging demand for more sustainable consumption options and a desire to support local businesses that can provide them.
The full report is available online and was prepared for the City of Eugene’s Waste Prevention Program as a part of the city’s solid waste system review. It was a cooperative effort between the University of Oregon Economics Department and the Community Service Center’s University Center for Economic Development. The City of Eugene’s Waste Prevention Program supports the elimination of waste from its source through education, outreach, and policy guidance.