If you’re somebody who revolves around an zero waste lifestyle or even just getting started, one of the best things you can start doing is wearing secondhand clothing. They benefits the environment in a variety of ways, that it really should be a go-to for anybody who’s shopping for an addition to their sustainable wardrobe.
Whether you’re unsure if buying used clothes is for you, or maybe you just want to educate yourself of the perks, this post will open your mind to the idea of shopping secondhand clothing.
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BENEFITS TO THE ENVIRONMENT
1. Reduces Textile Waste
Buying secondhand means you are reusing a piece of clothing that has been worn previously by someone else. Secondhand pieces are often in good enough shape for continued wear but end up landing in some dumpster instead of being donated or resold.
There’s a lot of textile waste in the world, and many of these pieces of clothing don’t degrade quickly. For instance, only 15% of consumer-used textiles are recycled, whereas the remaining 85% end up in landfills or are incinerated. When you also consider the dyes used for many types of clothing, these dyes step into the ground and water ways, contaminating them with toxic chemicals.
By buying secondhand clothing, you’re reducing the amount of textile waste in landfills and extending the life cycle of these garments by giving them a spot in your wardrobe.
2. Buying Secondhand Clothing Saves Water
Many garments contain toxic chemicals that end up in our waterways during the manufacturing process or once they end up in landfills. Textile water pollution accounts for 20% of global industrial water pollution due to contaminants like dyes.
Water is one of the world’s most precious resources and we cannot live without it. We shouldn’t waste it as if it was infinite.
3. Saves Natural Resources
Buying things used decreases the demand to create new items.
Producing new things requires the use of natural resources. But the thing is, many of these resources aren’t renewable. For instance, to produce plastic things, we need oil, which is not a renewable resource at all.
Scientists estimated that we only have 47 years of oil left if the world’s consumption levels stay the same. Also, many natural resources aren’t sourced in an eco-friendly or ethical way.
It leads to the loss of wildlife habitats, destroys ecosystems, and threatens indigenous people’s lives.
4. Reduces Air Pollution
There are a lot of carbon emissions caused by the fashion industry, which contributes to global warming.
It’s estimated that 10% of all global emissions come from the fashion industry. Therefore, it’s extremely important that we try to change our clothes-shopping habits. There’s also the fact that many clothes get incinerated instead of being reused. When certain types of clothes are burned, they release toxins into the air.
By not buying more clothes from fast fashion brands, you’re reducing the need for these businesses to produce more clothing, which causes air pollution to manufacture as well as distribute.
BENEFITS TO YOU
1. Saves Your Money
One great side effect of buying secondhand clothing is the substantial amount of money you can save. You can get clothing from top-notch brands at bargain prices simply because they were worn a couple of times and no longer appeal to their owner.
You’ll never pay anywhere near full price, and this is great for when you find high-quality clothing from brand names that you know and trust.
2. Secondhand Clothing Is Unique
Majority of clothing that you will find in thrift stores are completely unique.
The chances of there being two of the same item in the same thrift store or in other thrift stores are slim to none. And chances are, you won’t be able to find the same piece ever again because they’re probably no longer being made, especially vintage clothing.
So if you want one-of-a-kind clothing, shopping secondhand is a great way to get them.
3. Your Vintage Style Looks More Authentic
Another advantage of shopping for secondhand clothing is that you will find one-of-a-kind pieces that no one else has. By virtue of shopping only for used and vintage items, you’ll look unique without having to put much effort into it.
We all know that fashion repeats itself. New versions of styles that were once considered old-fashioned suddenly reappear in stores all the time. So instead of buying the same “vintage-style” pair of ballet pumps as all your girlfriends, go check out a secondhand shop and find a one-of-a-kind pair so your look has a more authentic feel.
4. Secondhand Clothing Last Longer
This may sound untrue but look at it this way. You can find a lot of clothes in thrift stores that are years old, especially if you’re in a vintage store.
Some of these clothes were created before fast fashion started becoming so widespread. Since they are pre-fast fashion, they are better made and meant to stand the test of time.
Additionally, secondhand clothing lasts longer because used clothing has usually been washed a couple, if not dozens of times already.
A shirt that no longer fits someone else might be a perfect fit for you. Many pieces of clothing, especially those of good quality, can survive for decades if they are treated well.
So now you know the many benefits of buying secondhand clothing, both personal and environmental. It’s a great feeling shopping secondhand, knowing that you’re helping the environment, practicing slow fashion while also simplifying your life.