Not just bout the money…

After talking to multiple members of my family (all of whom are very skeptical of my ability to do this, I might add), I think it’s time to discuss some of the other reasons I’ve decided to second-hand shop aside from the cheddar aspect.

The life-cycles of our clothing are not really of concern anymore, what with the trend of “fast fashion,” which is essentially viewed as disposable clothing. Retailers like H&M and Forever 21 (two of my prior favorites) have made HUGE businesses out of this. So what’s the problem?

Clothing waste is a major issue and a huge contributor to the pollution and landfill issues we are overwhelmed with. When clothes cost less, not only is their longevity relatively non-existent, but there is no real attachment on the buyers end to keep it around. Here are some facts from the EPA:

  • An estimated 13.1 million tons of textiles were generated in 2010, or 5.3 percent of total municipal solid waste (MSW) generation.
  • An estimated 14.0 percent of textiles in clothing and footwear and 17.1 percent of items such as sheets and pillowcases was recovered for export or reprocessing in 2010.
  • The recovery rate for all textiles was 15.0 percent in 2010, 2.0 million tons.

Waste aside, these fast fashion retailers keep their costs low by using incredibly cheap labor. Incredibly cheap labor= unfair wages and abuse of factory employees, most often in third world countries. After visiting Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia and seeing the ways of the working world (lots of kids…) with my own eyes, I can’t pretend like it’s not happening. And imagine what we don’t see.

Talking to my skeptical family members actually strengthened my commitment to this New Years resolution. It’s not JUST about saving money. After all, if I wanted to blow thousands of dollars on second-hand goods, I could do it in a second (more Louboutins, please!). It’s much bigger than that.

Reducing the waste of even just one person makes a difference, and the hundreds of dollars I spend annually at Forever 21 and H&M are now out of their pockets. So who’s with me?

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