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3 Easy Steps you can take to positively impact the environment around you.

As a twenty-year-old based in Seattle, I hear “OMG let’s go thrifting” all the time. This activity has become a pastime for many young adults. Rather than hitting up the malls or scrolling through online sites, a vast amount of the population enjoys shopping at second-hand stores as well as upcycling pieces they’ve collected. However, what many may not know is that not only is this activity fun, but it yields positive effects for the environment.

Contrary to “Fast Fashion” in which retailers rapidly release inexpensive collections, thrifting drives down carbon emissions and textile waste.

On average, Americans tend to create over 80 pounds of textile waste per year. Our landfills are full of unwanted fashions that could easily be passed onto others. For every shirt thrown away, we lose 715 gallons of water, for a pair of jeans, 1,800 gallons, and 2,257 for every pair of shoes. This is a significant loss that negatively impacts the environment and water supply.

Additionally, the fashion industry not only utilizes a substantial amount of water but is the second-largest polluter in the world when it comes to carbon emissions. Stemming from that, these issues lead to irreversible climate change.

However, simply shopping at thrift stores will drive down demand for clothing and as a result, reduce emissions and slow climate change.

In essence, it is in all of our best interests that we make a statement towards protecting and supporting our environment. Fast Fashion and textile companies are followed by an increase in pollution, exploitation of the labor force abroad, as well as extensive amounts of waste. However, second-hand stores and the activity of thrifting pose an opportunity to take back what has been lost to overconsumption within the fashion community. Citing True Activist, it is known that thrifted articles of clothing tend to cost 50% less than original retailers.

Therefore, by shopping second-hand not only will you save a significant amount of money, but also positively impact the environment around you.

1. Reuse/Upcycle:

Instead of throwing out old clothes turn them into something new! Have an old shirt but love the fabric? Make a headband! Old Jeans and Towels? You can use them as kitchen rugs.

Looking for fabrics to upcycle at a thrift store

2. Recycle/Donate

Bring some of those old fashions and unfit clothes to your nearest second-hand store! Some even reimburse you with store credit!

3. Shop for a cause:

Suited For Change hosts monthly Boutique Sales to the general public. The proceeds will aid many women in need by providing them with support, business attire, and skill training.


Kenna Kilgallon

About Kenna Kilgallon:

Kenna Kilgallon is a SFC volunteer and currently a Junior scheduled to graduate in June of 2022 from the University of Washington. She attends the Jackson School and is passionate about women’s empowerment and policy development.


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