Bargain-hunting at thrift stores can do more than just keep your wallet and wardrobe packed — it can also help keep the planet alive.
Thrifting and the environment are connected in many ways.
Some second-hand clothes are still in good quality, especially those that are brand-new or luxury goods. There’s a truth to the saying that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and thrift stores are chests waiting to be opened. The more you thrift, the more clothes you put to good use and save from being wasted. Doing so also allows you to help prevent the planet from being overrun with unwanted yet usable garments. How are thrifting and the environment connected? Here’s how.
How Is Thrifting Good for the Environment?
1. Lessens Textile Waste
When clothes no longer fit or are out of style, they tend to get thrown out — but this doesn’t make them obsolete. In fact, they can likely still be used for several more years, depending on their condition. Clothes that are no longer worn can still be reused and recycled. This is why thrifting is good for the environment: it keeps unwanted fabrics and textiles from piling up in landfills.
2. Shrinks Your Carbon Footprint
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases a person or entity releases into the atmosphere per day. Manufacturing clothes demands an enormous amount of energy, and transportation, production, shipping, and storing all play a huge part in contributing to said emissions. By going to thrift stores, you help reduce demand for new clothes. This, in turn, can lower the supply needed to satisfy public demand, shrinking your own carbon footprint.
3. Reduces Pollution
In line with the previous point, chemical pollutants produced in the manufacturing of textiles are likewise reduced, including crude oil by-products and harmful dyes. This helps keep the environment contaminant-free. Cotton production, for example, not only uses gallons of water but is also pesticide-intensive, corrupting the water supply and turning the soil acidic. By thrifting, you help reduce the industrial resources required to meet public demand.
4. Preserves Water
By managing your carbon footprint and reducing manufacturing wastes, you subsequently lower industrial water usage. A kilogram of cotton needs approximately 10,000 liters to create — and that’s only the beginning of the process. The less clothes needed to make commercial profits, the better.
5. Encourages Sustainability
Thrifting is a gateway to practicing ethical and sustainable green living. By extending the same mindset of opting for second-hand and pre-loved goods to other household and personal needs, you’re benefiting the planet just as much as you are yourself and your finances.
Recycling Thrift Store Finds
Aside from buying second-hand clothes and other goods from a thrift store, you can prevent your worn-out clothes from being thrown out. The number of ways you can help preserve the environment are only limited by what you readily have at home. Unleash your creativity through the following practices:
1. Repair or Repurpose
Repair your old clothes first if they’re only minimally damaged. Mend them by patching and sewing buttons and holes. If they are beyond repair, look for ways they can still be repurposed. You can always convert your old clothes into loungewear. Doing this is both eco- and budget-friendly, especially for those who stay home most of the time.
2. Dust Rags
Cut your old t-shirts into dust rags. You only need a pair of scissors to create throwaway rags to use when cleaning. Whichever size you need, you can skip the trip to the store and make it yourself.
Cut your unwanted clothes, flannels, and sweaters into strips and squares. Stitch them together, and create a personalized quilt. There are a myriad of styles and patterns for you to choose from online, and, with a bit of patience, you can create one-of-a-kind blankets that can rival their commercial counterparts.
4. Decorative Items
Transform old fabrics into nifty house decor. You can make quilted fabric coasters, bookmarks, and pot holders. With exorbitant expenses out of the question, the ways you can style your home are only limited by your imagination.
5. Pet Things
Donate your old clothes and unwanted fabrics to your furry friends, if you’ve got any. Dogs and cats alike will always appreciate a new bed to sleep on and new toys to tear apart. Plus, with some dedication, you can even create pet versions of your old clothes to fit your pets, solidifying their status as your mini-me fur babies.
Having said all this, the benefits of thrifting aren’t exclusive to environmental sustainability. If you want to learn more about why thrifting is good and do your part in saving the environment, come visit one of the best thrift stores in Lebanon, TN: Haven House Thrift Store. We offer a wide selection of branded clothes alongside books, toys, furniture, and decorations. Check us out today!