Are Thrifted Clothes Sustainable?

Imagine this, you’re staring at your closet and you want to toss a couple of old t-shirts and some jeans that you probably haven’t worn since 2015. You’re thinking of heading to a shop to buy a few new fits to fill in the space. No big deal, right? Just toss and shop. Toss and shop. And the cycle goes on. 
But where do you think all of the clothes end up after you toss them in the bin? If you’re thinking, I don’t care ‘coz it doesn’t affect me…then honey, you’re in for a reality check.  

Obviously, your clothes don’t magically disappear when you throw them in the bin. Those cotton and sequins don’t just spontaneously combust either.  They end up in landfills, the ocean, getting eaten up by turtles, and swallowed by fish. This is the reality of fast fashion. It’s affordable and quickly replaceable. But at what cost? The environment? 

If you were already aware of this, then bravo! You definitely pass the vibe check. But if this is news to you then you really gotta…

It’s time you should know that…

The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world next to the oil industry. Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water resources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (UNECE, 2018), and washing some types of clothes contributes to the high amount of microplastics that go into the ocean. There’s also been a recent study of microplastics that have been found in the human bloodstream. And you still think this doesn’t affect you? 

Of course, you can blame it on big corporations because they’re all causing these problems. But what can you do on an individual scale? You can do your part in making sustainable choices such as buying more secondhand clothes instead of shopping brand-new. 

How can you help the environment? 

Buying thrifted clothes is one of the easiest ways of indulging yourself that’s better for the environment. You still get your shopping spree but without the guilt of destroying the planet. 

With thrifting, the fashion production process gets cut which then lessens waste and pollution. So you still get to wear what you want while making choices that are actually better for the planet! 

So how exactly is buying second-hand clothing sustainable? 

  • There’s no need to use new materials to make the clothes
  • No labour is required for the production of the clothes
  • There’s less to no carbon used to transport the clothes 
  • There’s no money spent on packaging, marketing, etc. 

Overall, thrifting sounds like the best choice for sustainable fashion. Thrifting also extends the life of that old two-piece suit you haven’t worn in forever or those boots on top of your wardrobe that are gathering dust. What you might think is trash might be someone’s version of vintage.

So if you’re thinking of heading out to buy something brand-new, why not try buying secondhand instead?

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