Thrifting: Helping yourself to help the environment

Before the 1920s, most clothing had a life cycle within one household, being mended, passed down, or cut to be used as cloth. The rise of industrialization brought with it the rise of consumerism and the idea of buying new to replace the old. In recent years that mindset has only advanced. The volume of textile trash increased by 40% between 1999 and 2009, and 7.6% of national landfills is textiles while they make up only 2.7% of national recycling.

The synthetic fibers that are used in 72% of our clothing can take hundreds of years to decompose. These non-biodegradable microfibers are harming the oceans, contributing to the deaths of 100,000 marine animals each year. It is not just used clothing that causes harm. Chemicals are also used in the production of clothes, and the apparel industry accounts for 10% of emissions across the globe. Additionally, the water used to produce clothing is monumental and can be wasteful.

One way to ensure you don’t participate in allowing harmful chemicals into the environment is to buy clothes made of organic fibers from sustainable brands. However, environmentally friendly can often mean products are more expensive, and not everyone can afford an $80 t-shirt. Luckily, Goodwill is sustainable as well! Shopping at a second hand store can cut back on waste and reduce pollution.

You can participate in environmentally-safe consumer habits when you shop at thrift stores like Goodwill. By choosing to shop at Goodwill, you’re helping cut back on the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills and reducing the carbon emissions and water usage from clothing production. Find a Goodwill near you to start shopping today.