Sustainability Tip: 7 reasons to buy clothing second-hand rather than new

Summer is here, and so is the shopping season. Instead of buying new, we’ve listed 7 reasons to buy clothing second-hand, which is good for the environment, people, and your wallet!

    1. Lower GHG emissions: The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, contributing 1.7 billion tons of CO2 each year. This number is expected to increase by 50% by 2030. According to the American Apparel Association, “each person that buys second-hand clothing can prevent more than 500 pounds of CO2 every year, reducing one’s water, waste, and carbon footprint by more than 80%.” 
    2. Keep clothing out of landfills: The US generated more than 16 million tons of textile waste in 2017, but only 15% was recycled (EPA). Buying second-hand clothing can increase the lifespan of clothes, decreasing the chances for them to end up in landfills.
    3. Reduce water and energy: 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of cotton (an important raw material), according to WWF. However, “reuse and recycling over 100,000 tons of used textiles save 70 million cubic meters of water.” 
    4. Minimize hazardous materials: A report by Global Fashion Agenda concludes that cotton farming consumes 16% of all insecticides,  4% of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, and 7% of all herbicides worldwide. These chemicals pollute water and contaminate lands, further harming the ecosystem. 
    5. Shop ethically: Many Western fast fashion brands locate their factories abroad for cheap labor, creating serious human rights issues such as child labor, underpayment, and horrible work environments. Buying second-hand can discourage these actions to a degree.
    6. Find better prices: Second-hand clothing is often cheaper than buying new, saving you money. 
    7. Support good causes: Shops like Goodwill are non-profit and provide opportunities for those who face employment challenges. Shopping there can support those employees and contribute to good causes.

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