Thrifting & Vintage: Why Re-Using is a Huge Part of the Answer

In America, the clothing consumption rate is five times what it was in 1980, and only 15-20% of donated clothes end up being worn by someone who scooped it up at your local Value Village (1). A huge reason for this is that many clothes donated these days are of poorer quality or fit in trends that pass within months, giving them poor resale value.

But thrifting (whether from scouring the local Goodwill or perusing a local vintage shop’s much more curated goods) can turn up some great finds.

Besides scoring unique items for cheap, here are some ways that thrifting is great:

  1. There is an environmental impact for each new item made – from the use of earth’s resources to pollution from dying and fresh water consumption (and more pollution) in treating fabrics to the energy and potentially unethical treatment of workers in garment factories. By choosing to purchase used over new, you are helping reduce pollution and global warming.
  2. Garments that leave the original owners hands in relatively good shape are likely made to last.
  3. Whether you purchase used items from a charity like Salvation Army or your local Vintage Shop, you can feel good that your money is going to helping people or towards small businesses and your local economy.
  4. If you have a clothing budget, purchasing whatever you can secondhand might allow you to save for more ethical and ecological new purchases that you might be less likely to find unstained at your local Value Village – like the perfect Canadian Made Organic Cotton White Button-Down.

 

Resources:

(1) The Atlantic – “Where Does Discarded Clothing Go?”

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