10 Benefits of Thrift Shopping For You and For the Planet
Why is thrifting the best?
Thrift shopping, or “thrifting”, is the act of patronizing pre-loved or second hand items at a discounted price. Most items at thrift stores or consignment shops are second hand or “pre-loved”, if you will, by a previous owner but still remain in good enough condition to be loved by another owner. Meanwhile, charity shops are thrift shops but for a cause. A charity shop, such as stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army is usually spearheaded by a charitable organization in order to raise funds for a cause.
To put it plainly, thrifting is a gift that keeps on giving for everyone — for beneficiaries, for you, for the planet, and for your wallet too.
There are so many reasons to love thrifting and many more reasons to start to shop at consignment stores. Here are only several reasons out of many, many more:
1. Cheap but quality thrift store finds
One of the best things with thrifting is the low prices for good quality clothing and other items. We get to save money and get good deals too? Wow.
In thrift shops, you have many options in shopping clothing that would cost you multiple times at department stores. And mind you, these are high quality clothes, branded items. Many thrift finds come from popular brand names and with some clothes, bags, and shoes still with price tags on it! Sometimes there are also new items in many thrift stores too, all for low prices still.
Why get it for more at the department store when you can get it for way less at the thrift shop and save a lot of money?
2. Unique and diverse styles
Aside from saving us a lot of money and finding us good deals, we love thrift stores for the plethora of clothes, bags, shirts, furniture, and whatnots that come in various styles. This allows us the freedom of curating our own original style with the vast options a thrift store has for us. Whether your style demands a quirky pop t-shirt or a simple plaid cotton skirt, your local thrift stores have it all for you.
3. Element of surprise
Most times, thrifting is a lot like going on some treasure hunt. You never know what you will find after digging through each pile or rack of clothes, but finding a unique piece for a cheap deal is definitely a treasure find. There is so much sense of fulfillment walking out of a thrift store with something you didn’t expect you’d find, but something you very much love. And that’s what makes thrifting most exciting too!
4. Vintage steals
5. Weekly variation
Since there are a ton of preloved items waiting to find a new home, thrift stores frequently receive donations. This makes thrifting even more fun, as there are new clothes, bags, shoes, and other products to check out every week! Fast fashion, who?
6. An item for everyone
Whether it’s kids clothing, wardrobe for students, a quirky gift for your writer friend, or a Christmas present for your parents, there is always something for everyone at a consignment store or at the flea markets near your neighborhood. Instead of having to hop around shops, a trip to the thrift store makes the family shopping so much more convenient!
7. Reduce waste
Someone else’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Every time you go thrift shopping at your local thrift store instead of the mall, you’re giving a new home to someone else’s clothes that would have otherwise gone to fill up our landfills. With the advent of fast fashion in the 1990s, the throw-away culture that people have developed has led to a toxic amount of clothing waste that adds up to pollution. Because of the overwhelming options we have, our shopping habits have become linear and thoughtless.
8. Supporting local
When you choose to shop at thrift stores or resale shops, you are choosing to support a local business. There are also some thrift stores that are social enterprises, so the proceeds of the clothing and products they sell go to a charitable cause to help in your community. This makes shoppers leave the store feeling double better with their purchase! It’s both shopping and helping out at the same time.
Meanwhile, all fast fashion brands are led by capitalist corporations that prioritize profit over human lives and the planet’s life.
9. Lesser carbon footprint
Would you believe that it took around 1,800 gallons of water to produce that pair of jeans you’re wearing now? And that’s only one aspect of the production process that all goes into the clothing industry. What about the manufacturing and the distributing of these clothing items? Each part of the production for a single item has a corresponding amount of energy, carbon footprint and greenhouse gases being generated, all adding further damage to the planet.
But each time you thrift an item instead of buying something new from the mall, you are maximizing all the resources spent on each item when you extend its life to the fullest. Plus, making a detour to the thrift store benefits both your wallet and the planet.
10. Sustainable for the environment
The fashion industry is one of the biggest industries existing, and understandably so, as it is something very personal to each of us. Unfortunately, this makes it also one of the largest pollutants in the environment. This is why thrifting is the best middle ground between the two situations. It’s a win-win for everyone, really.
How do thrift stores help the community?
Thrift stores that are run by charitable organizations, such as Salvation Army, for certain causes are a way to give back to the community by raising funds for the community’s needs. People running these stores are often volunteers giving back to their community in these little ways.
A charity store falls under the category of a social enterprise. In this way, your shopping experience becomes more meaningful because it is no longer merely self-serving for the shopper alone but also for the life of the community that would benefit from the proceeds of the store.
Why is thrift shopping good for the environment?
Shopping at a thrift store diverts what would otherwise be waste lying around useless at the landfill. With every piece of second-hand clothing that you give a new life to, you are also extending the planet’s life as much.
The mass production of clothing and all other fashion products multiplied supply over demand, leading people to replace items easily just because they can acquire them easily. Just look at the United States, which is among the top polluters when it comes to textile waste, the average American produces around 60 up to 80 pounds of clothing waste annually. Let’s not forget that these materials take months and even years to fully break down in the landfills.
So, the next time you’re on the way to the mall to shop for new clothes, take a detour to a thrift store instead! In this way, you get to upgrade your wardrobe at a good price that is not at the cost of the environment.
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.