Go Green this Earth Day!

The fashion industry produces 100 billion garments a year, and 87% of those garments end up in a landfill. The apparel industry is single-handedly responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, a number expected to reach 26% by 2050. As an individual, it’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of impending climate disaster, but one power you do have as a consumer is controlling how you spend your money.

Every time you buy something secondhand, you are investing in a future filled with less overproduction, less labor exploitation, and less waste. Here are 5 ways that shopping secondhand helps the earth.

1. Decreasing the Demand for New Goods

Fashion culture in America needs a mindset shift when it comes to our perception of new items. While new has historically meant better, secondhand shoppers know that this is not a universal truth. The growth of the secondhand industry in recent years has proven that fashion lovers have been able to extend the lifespan of garments without sacrificing style or quality. We must continue to shop secondhand to show fashion brands that “new” isn’t worth sacrificing our planet for.

2. Reducing CO2 emissions

The production and transportation of new clothes generates major carbon emissions. For example, a new pair of jeans requires cotton cultivation, fabric production, cutting, sewing, assembly, and distribution. Each step of this process contributes to carbon emissions. Buying secondhand instead of buying new reduces the carbon footprint of your closet because there is no new production required.

3. Saving Water

Cotton, one of the most popular raw materials for new clothes, uses up a significant amount of water. The production of a single cotton shirt can consume over 700 gallons of water, which is more than the average person would consume in 3 years. There is only so much freshwater to go around, and shopping secondhand helps protect this valuable resource from being drained by the cost of production.

4. Keeping Clothes out of Landfills

When clothes are resold, they re-enter the fashion market, as opposed to being discarded. The American fashion industry is responsible for tons of textile waste not only on US soil, but also in countries like Chile, where tons of discarded garments are imported every year. One textile landfill in Chile has gotten so large that it is now visible from space. Thrift stores and secondhand sellers play an important role in stopping this system of waste; each item purchased secondhand is one fewer item in the trash.

5. Supporting local businesses

While this is an indirect connection to the climate crisis, it is important to empower local businesses and communities to do the lifesaving work that big corporations refuse to be a part of. Every transaction made on the Housing Works eshop directly supports our mission to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS. Last year, Housing Works reused over 2 million pounds of materials, and it is thanks to our customers that we are able to continue doing what we can to make the world a better place.

This Earth Day, don’t be discouraged! You have the power to be a part of a global movement to reject fast fashion, change your shopping habits, and reshape the face of the fashion industry. This Earth Week, revamp your spring wardrobe with secondhand gems from the Housing Works eShop!