Buying Thrifted Clothing Does More For The Environment Than You Think

second-hand clothes

Vintage seems to be all the rage right now and I’m here for it! But does it really make sense to buy new clothes, styled as vintage? There is actually a wide range of charity or thrift shops in most local areas that are being overlooked. Moreover, there’s a lot of other problems with this: Mass produced fast fashion is made to look like it’s a second-hand, vintage item.

I was brought up with the appreciation of second-hand, hand-me-downs and charity shop hunting. It’s been something I’ve never been afraid to mention doing, but even as a grown woman, I still get the occasional questionable look when I mention I’ve picked up some clothes from second-hand stores. 

Now, when our global eco-crisis is at such a high level, this is the best time to be more eco-friendly when it comes to your buying habits and choices — and shopping from second-hand boutiques can help you do that. 

According to UNENVIRONMENT, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting ones in the world. Producing 10% of humanity’s carbon emission, (more than international flights and maritime shipping combined), it pollutes the ocean with microfibers and is the second-largest consumer of our water supply. What’s more, the average pair of jeans takes about 9010 liters of water to make. WRAP has also stated that more than 300,000 tons of used clothing go to landfill in the UK every year. 

So is fast fashion really the best way to live when it has such a negative impact on our planet? Well, I believe the answer should be no. And this is where the beauty of second-hand shopping comes in. 

Think about how many clothes are already out there just waiting for a second chance. Who are we to starve them of that opportunity? A dress that no longer fits someone else might be perfect for you. Or a shirt someone no longer wears might be your new favorite item. 

Unfortunately, many of us don’t immediately think about secondhand due to the misconceptions around such items. People’s main concerns seem to be that they don’t know who wore the clothes before.

Now I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but if you try on an item of clothing at a large retail store, how many people do you think have done the exact same thing as you? What’s the difference? Besides you’re probably going to take the clothes home and wash them anyway. Others live with the misconception that their friends will assume that they don’t have enough money to buy new clothes.

And to that I say: So what? Who cares what anyone else thinks? If you like it, get it. You can save money and still have an updated wardrobe. The thoughts of others shouldn’t affect the decisions you make. The way I see it, when I buy something second hand, I am getting something that otherwise could end up in landfill — I am reducing my impact on the planet and saving some money in the process. 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that finding exactly what you’re looking for might not be as easy. But don’t let that dishearten you. You might not find it straight away but you might see something else entirely, and that’s half the fun. It also gives you the chance to be flexible and open-minded.

I believe that we all need to be more open to buying pre-loved. It’s not about always shopping at second-hand shops. If you really need a new jacket and you can’t find anything, that’s okay. Buy it wherever you want. It’s about trying to do your bit as much as you can — that’s all anyone can really ask for. Collectively, we can make a difference if we all try our best. 

Do you buy second-hand? Would you? Let’s talk about it in the comments below and let us know!

Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash.


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