As consumers worldwide buy more clothes, the growing market for cheap items and new styles is taking a toll on the environment.
The plain truth: Fashion production makes up 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What’s more, 85 percent of all textiles end up in landfills each year. (The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second).
With Earth Day right around the corner (April 22), it’s important to recognize the hidden environmental costs of fast fashion, and obvious alternatives to help reverse these trends.
Zero-waste advocate Bea Johnson makes a good point about the current consumer culture: “Disposability is a modern concept, something that was invented by the manufacturers and their powerful marketers out of financial greed … they promise us time savings in our life, so we can be more productive, but don’t the products that they sell rather hinder efficiency? They need to be bought, discarded … What a waste of time and money!”
Of course, thrifting is one of the best ways to lighten our impact as a consumer. Every purchase you make at Goodwill Central Coast is a practice in sustainability, fair working conditions, good prices and great style.
While there are some amazing brands that care about the environment and their workers, it can be hard to navigate fashion standards. And frankly it’s expensive to shop for new brand items.
New clothes can be pricey, so make your wardrobe budget stretch farther by shopping secondhand. Every brand, size, style, and color under the sun can be found along our aisles — at a fraction of the price found on new items.
Buying secondhand clothing is by far the most sustainable choice we can make. When we purchase items that already exist, less finite resources are needed. Thrifting also delays existing clothes and other products from ending up in the landfill. In fact, each year our Goodwill stores divert approximately 70,000 tons of clothing and household items from local landfills.
By shopping at Goodwill, customers can reduce the need for valuable natural resources in the production of new fabrics. Consider this amazing fact: To grow the cotton required to make a new T-shirt and pair of jeans takes more than 5,000 gallons of water, so choosing to buy items second hand has a powerful environmental impact.
Switching to thrifting isn’t going to completely solve all of the problems within the fashion and textile industry, but it is one way we can work to minimize our own carbon footprints and make small steps towards a better future.
Finally, think about what your Goodwill donation means all along the chain. You reduce clutter and the stress it brings, and you help the environment. But by giving someone else that opportunity to purchase your items, it strengthens the community through Goodwill’s employment training and opportunities.
And that’s the power of thrifting.