How Buying Secondhand Helps Save the Planet

how buying secondhand helps save the planet and fights the fast fashion problem

Do you know the term, “Fast Fashion”? 

“The term “fast fashion” refers to a phenomenon in the fashion industry whereby production processes are expedited in order to get new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible.” – Investopedia

With new trends being announced every week, cheap prices and constant sales – we are all being pressured to give in to the fast fashion phenomenon. However, it all comes at a very steep cost to the environment and the people who make these clothes.

Why should you care?

  • The clothing industry is the second-most polluting industry in the world, second only to oil. 

  • Fast fashion clothing is designed to fall apart. It is now estimated that American households dispose of 70lbs of textile waste every year. That is waste that will not be recycled or reused, it is going straight to a landfill where it will sit for hundreds of years.

  • The people who make these clothes are often exposed to dangerous chemicals and substances used in the production process

  • Children’s clothing, accessories and toys are all part of the fast fashion problem (and just think about how much more clothing your kid goes through than you do 😱)

fast fashion textile waste
Textile Waste

How to Fight Fast Fashion

The easiest and most affordable way to combat fast fashion is to shop secondhand. Clothing that makes it to secondhand shops are usually of higher quality, as they have survived a lifecycle with their previous owner. Even if you find barely worn or unworn clothing from some of the major brands that are fast fashion offenders at a secondhand shop, you are still giving that piece of clothing a second life, saving it from the landfill and reducing the resources being used and disposed of.

Kids Stuff

Baby, toddler and kids clothing tend to be worn for a shorter period of time than adults because they grow out of them so quickly. That means by the time they make it to a secondhand shop, they’re still in great shape! Once you start shopping secondhand for kids stuff, you’ll notice a distinct lack of cheaper fast fashion brands available. Instead, you’ll find high-quality kids clothing and accessories. Shopping secondhand means you’ll save money, so you might also find that you don’t mind as much when your kid discovers the joys of mud puddles or decides that ketchup is better placed on a shirt than on food.

fast fashion muddy boots

Photo Source

Secondhand Cloth Diapers

For those who choose to cloth diaper for environmental reasons, purchasing secondhand cloth diapers is a fantastic way to help the planet! Quality made cloth diapers like Lil Helpers are built to last through several cloth diapering journeys and you can often find cloth diapers at secondhand clothing stores. Facebook is full of Buy/Sell/Trade groups for cloth diapers and there’s even one just for Lil Helpers! There are often sweet deals to find on cloth diapers that are in great shape but the leg elastics have become too loose. Thankfully, this is something that is easily fixed at home or by your local seamstress for a small cost.

Donate

Don’t forget to keep the life cycle of your clothing and accessories going. If they aren’t worn beyond repair or have too many stains, donate or sell them! And if they are past the point of resurrection? Cut them up to become household rags or use them to patch other pieces of clothing.

Have you made the switch to shopping secondhand? Comment below to tell us about your experience!