Thrifting is so trendy nowadays- it’s something that a lot of people do, but not a lot of those people know how impactful it truly is. Here, I’ll outline a few key points I talk about in my podcast episode “save the world, go thrift shopping”.
When it comes to current issues in the environment world, the fast fashion industry is a huge one. If you’re not familiar with what this is, it’s pretty much all of the companies that mass-produce super cheap clothes and outsource the creation of these clothes to cheap factories overseas. This isn’t only an environmental issue- but a human rights issue as well, because the workers who make these clothes are usually paid pennies and are treated horribly. A lot of times their lives are being put on the line for virtually nothing, as they are paid extremely low. Another negative aspect of fast fashion is the fact that these clothes are cheaply made… crappy quality, not at all durable, and usually they fall apart after a few washes. This is done on purpose. The big companies that sell these items want you to keep coming back for more, so they purposefully make items they know are trendy and will sell, and they make them with the intent of pulling you back in to buy more. All in all, the fast fashion industry ignites consumerism and is all around a bad thing.
When you thrift shop, you’re going directly against her grain of the “norm”, which is buying into this fast fashion industry. You’re actively fighting against this industry that is horrible for the world and horrible for its workers.
Benefits of thrift shopping
Now that I’ve touched a bit on the fast fashion industry and why it’s so impactful to buy secondhand instead of supporting that, onto the fun part: the benefits of thrifting!
The first two are benefits it has for you and I, the consumers: thrifted items are cheap and durable. Typically, items that you find at thrift stores are much cheaper than the cost of buying those items new. More than that, many of the items are so durable! Like talked about above, nowadays many clothes are not made to last. Vintage products that have been around for 10, 20, 30, maybe even more years, are much more durable! If there’s a jacket sitting on the shelves in goodwill that was sitting in a grandmas closet since the 80’s, then at least you know it’s been washed hundreds of times and hasn’t fallen apart yet!
But, more than just getting cheap and durable products, thrifting and buying secondhand has even better benefits for the environment! The first one is that it drives down the production of new products. Say you want a pair of high waisted mom shorts. You can go drop $20 at Target for a pair that will probably wear and tear after one summer, OR, you can run by your local goodwill and find a durable, cute, vintage pair that’s been around for decades already! When you buy the shorts secondhand rather than from a big store, it drives down the demand for that product at the bigger store. Everyone knows business is supply and demand, so if the supply decreases, so does the demand! “What does that even mean, though?” you might ask. Well, when the demand for certain goods are driven down, so is the production. A lot of resources have to go into that production, and fossil fuels are emitted as a result. The less demand, the less resources are used and the less emissions go into the atmosphere. If more people thrifted versus buying new, imagine how impactful that could lead to be!
The other huge environmental benefit to thrifting is the waste aspect. Instead of being sent to a landfill, these items are getting their life extended because you’re buying it! You’re essentially saving it from being thrown into a landfill. Throwing away these items would in turn waste the resources that were used to create that product, so when you buy these used items instead, it’s such a win for the environment!
All in all, thrifting is such a win-win-win! So get out there and get thrifting! (Oh, and don’t forget to donate your used items rather than toss and contribute to more landfill waste!)