In recent years, second-hand shopping has become a lot more popular. Whether it’s through thrift stores or online resale shops like Poshmark, Depop, and even eBay, the idea of people being able to buy clothing items, home decor, and surprisingly even electronics for a fraction of the price excites people. Who doesn’t like to save money?
Truthfully though, saving money is great and is definitely one of the reasons I thrift myself, but thrifting does so much more than allowing you to save money. It’s a great way to shop both sustainably and ethically.
Grace Miracle, a student at Southern Nazarene University, says that she got into thrifting freshman year because her roommate would go a lot, and she thought it was really cool. “Where I grew up they didn’t have super good thrift stores but when I came to school here, they had a lot better stores and items to choose from. Knowing that I’m never sure of what I’m going to find excites me. There is so much out there it’s like a big treasure box!” Miracle says.
According to serc.berkeley.edu, every year Americans alone throw away about 10.5 tons of clothing! This is even after they have been circulated through second-hand shops. With trends always changing and people wanting to stay up to date, fast fashion has become overly popular allowing consumers to over-consume and buy a lot for a lot less.
However, it hasn’t always been like that. Serc.berkeley.edu also mentions that in the 1950s people were buying fewer clothes but taking a lot better care of them. Ironically enough we find vintage clothes in better condition and quality than clothes from the 21st century. This is also due to so many clothing articles being made out of materials that cannot be recycled such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic.
So how does thrifting help this problem? Thrifting allows you to give these donated clothes a second chance before they hit the landfills. It might not be as convenient as just typing in the clothing article you are looking for to buy online. Instead, however, you will be walking away with a way more unique piece for a fraction of the price as well as knowing that you saved one less item ending up in a landfill.
Speaking of fast fashion, let’s talk about how unethical some companies can be. Yes, fast fashion is going to have its benefits. You are able to get a lot of cute trendy clothes for an affordable price. Let’s also mention how these clothes you are wearing from these companies are made from extremely underpaid workers in sweatshops. Sometimes even by child labor. Yikes. UNICEF estimates that 168 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are engaged in child labor.
By thrifting, you are no longer supporting these companies directly. Even if you were to thrift an item that originally came from a fast shipping company, your money will not be supporting that company at all.
Thrifting has thankfully become a lot more popular throughout recent years. The amount of clothes that are being produced just to be worn a few times and then thrown away is ridiculous. The same can be said for the unethical practices many clothing companies use. With thrifting, you are giving clothing a second chance before ending up in landfills and no longer supporting unethical clothing companies.