During my last semester of college, I watched a documentary called “The World According to H&M” for my FDM 200 class; it was a fashion-related course. In that documentary, I learned about the fast fashion culture, where women and children work long hours in such dangerous conditions for cheap wages. Then, I started to question whether or not it was worth it to give our money to these fast-fashion outlets.
In recent years, thrift shopping has grown in popularity due to its affordable prices, the unique pieces you can’t find anywhere else, and positive impact on the environment. Why should people look for the latest trends at fast fashion outlets when they can find equally nice pieces at their local thrift store instead? Keep on reading to learn about the benefits of thrift shopping!
Keep Clothes Away From Landfills
In elementary school, we were taught the saying, “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Even “Blue’s Clues” taught us the importance of recycling paper, plastic, and metal. Nobody taught us the importance of textile recycling, however. As it turns out, thrift shopping is very sustainable because it’s one of the easiest ways to recycle items.
According to 2nd Ave Thrift Stores, clothes that are tossed in the garbage end up in landfills. Most clothing is made out of synthetic material that won’t degrade, the article continues. Therefore, wreaking havoc in landfills and contributing to greenhouse gasses, the article continues. Why toss out a t-shirt and pollute the environment if someone else can make good use out of it?
Find New Homes for Gently, Used Items
Another benefit of thrift shopping is that you never know what you’re going to find. Whether it’d be a vintage Disneyland shirt, an old painting that could use a touch-up, a 50s-inspired vase, or a Bon Jovi album. But not just fancy items, YouTubers have taken great joy in repurposing old clothes and making them into something new for DIY projects.
Though I can’t relate to the clothes and furniture side of thrift shopping, one of my favorite stores currently is Book Off, a store that sells used books, DVDs, CDs, and electronics. The Book Off store is amazing because I’ve found so many DVDs and CDs that I didn’t even know existed. In fact, most of my Bon Jovi albums in my collection are from that store.
But don’t you get it? You may not see the value in a used item, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. You’d be surprised by how popular vintage is nowadays.
Reduce Chemical and Carbon Pollution
The textile materials that clothing is made out of are filled with pesticides and treated with harsh chemicals and dyes that are bad for our environment and health, according to Fashinnovation. Factories dump their waste into waterways, therefore polluting the homes of locals and wildlife nearby, the article continues. By supporting thrift stores, we can reduce the time and energy being put into the fast-fashion world.
Thrift shopping is good for the environment and it’s the easiest way to reduce carbon pollution. As mentioned before, a lot of time and energy goes into producing and shipping new clothes; many resources are wasted as well. The fast fashion industry is growing by the minute and it’s not stopping anytime soon.
Support Charities That Do Good
Thrift shopping is sustainable, but did you know that they also help the greater good? They usually support local charities. When making a purchase, the profit goes to the community or a cause in need, unlike fast fashion outlets, where the profit goes to the big corporations and shareholders.
According to a previous source, thrift shops have that community vibe, where they strive to help others. They may even support a cause to reduce plastic pollution for marine life animals. So you could be saving the environment in two ways: shopping for secondhand items and supporting an environmental cause.
Lower Water Consumption
According to Cincinnati Goodwill, over 400 gallons of water are used to produce cotton for just one t-shirt. Clothing production uses up a lot of resources, including water. It’s used at every stage of production, according to a previous source.
There’s no point in wasting water on new clothes if we’re just going to toss them in a few years. Water is very precious, and we need it in our daily lives, so we can’t afford to waste a single drop. When you recycle clothing, you’re preserving water.
Buy More, Spend Less
Who doesn’t love a good deal? When you shop at thrift stores, you’re getting more for less because all of the items are really cheap. Saving your money counts as saving the planet, in a way.
Going back to the Book Off store, most of the CDs I purchased from there were around $5 to $10. If the CD works and is in good condition, then that’s a really good deal. Thrift shopping is good for the environment and good for your wallet.
Give Thrift Shopping a Try!
Now that we’ve gone through all of the benefits of thrift shopping, let’s refresh our memory a bit. Thrift shopping is good for the environment because it keeps clothes out of landfills, reduces carbon and chemical pollution caused by clothing production, and lowers water consumption. Most thrift shops also support local charities, which some could be for environmental causes.
On the more fun side, you never know what you’re going to find at thrift shops, and you can get really cool items for a cheap price. Whether it’d be a CD or a vintage top, it’s possible to make good use of something that was donated. In the end, you’ll feel better about yourself because you’re providing a new home for your gently used purchases.