We are in a moment where less is more (or at least better organized and more neatly folded). Marie Kondo’s book and TV series has people rushing to get rid of stuff, and business is booming at the local thrift store. But in truth, the secondhand industry is worldwide and it’s also big business.

As our parents age and we grapple with taking all their stuff, what are the policy implications around a generation of children discarding a lot of it at once, often in the secondhand stream?

The best way to address the trash thing is to not buy stuff that will one day be trash. Easy enough concept but what are ways to actually live that out?


  • Adam Minter, journalist and author of Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale (release date November 2019)
  • Nick Adams, senior director of retail stores at Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota

Big thanks to our sponsors for the event, ReUSE Minnesota and The Repair Lair!

Listen to more Policy On Tap!

The Citizens League launched a new event series in 2019 that will feature robust policy conversations around one central theme. For our first season, we were Talking Trash.

Very few of us know what happens after we leave our bins at the curb, take our stuff to a thrift store, or throw something in a bin at a restaurant. And the answer often depends on where that action happens.

It’s the epitome of “out of sight, out of mind.” And trash removal often is a heated policy debate (hello, St. Paul), even if you spend your days seeing if your stuff sparks joy.

The Citizens League is dedicated to robust conversations about policy and convened four events to explore different aspects of the stuff we throw away. Full audio of all events has been posted.