As concerns over the environmental impact of retail fashion increase, shopping resale displaces the need for new clothing production, and diverts items from landfill. It’s shopping with intention, rejecting throw-away fashion culture, and standing for sustainability.
Consumers interested in seeking to reduce their carbon footprint are driving the surge in the resale world. Customers recognize the inherent sustainability factor of shopping second-hand. Simply put, individuals looking for eco-conscious alternatives to buying new merchandise are interested in shopping at second-hand shops.
Nationally, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the total generation of municipal solid waste in 2018 was 292.4 million tons, which was approximately 23.7 million tons more than the amount generated in 2017. This is an increase from the 268.7 million tons generated in 2017 and the 208.3 million tons in 1990. Textiles accounted for almost 6% of that total amount.
That’s a lot of waste. When you shop at a consignment shop, you keep those clothes out of the landfill. You are recycling textiles. Clothing takes up a significant portion of the textiles category above. According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the volume of clothing specifically, that Americans throw away each year has doubled in the last 20 years, from 7 million to 14 million tons. Fourteen million tons! Think about that figure for a moment. Also, in 2018, 17 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills, making up 5.8 percent of the total MSW generation that year. These numbers just increase indefinitely. By shopping at a consignment shop, you keep part of that percentage of clothing from going into the landfill. You can learn more about what fills our landfills here: (National Overview: Facts and Figures on Materials, Wastes and Recycling | Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling | US EPA).
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