Published on August 24, 2018—  Leave a comment

10 Super Compelling Reasons Why You Need to Shop Secondhand First

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Happy Secondhand Month! We’re celebrating all things thrifty throughout August. Check what’s going on here,including thredUP bingo, our #NoNewClothes challenge, and so much more.

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know (and love!) the benefits of shopping secondhand. The savings, the variety, the good you’re doing for the planet, etc. But wait, there’s even more! Whether you’re a thrifty pro or a total newbie, you’ll dig our top 10 list of reasons why you need to shop secondhand first. It’s also super shareable (just cut and paste). Join us on our mission to inspire a new generation of consumers to think secondhand first. 

1. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world besides oil. Yikes. We know oil gets a bad rap (hello, current electric car frenzy), but clothes?! Yep. It’s surprising but true. Due to the rise of fast fashion, textile waste has shot up by 40% from 1999 to 2009!


Here’s why that’s so bad: decomposing clothing releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas and a significant contributor to global warming. A report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation study found that fashion is now responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, and is projected to drain a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. Dyes and chemicals in fabrics also pose a problem, leaching into the soil and contaminating water sources. And then there’s the landfill space issue: we’re running out of it. 

You’d think with such high stakes in clothes production, we’d use every item to its fullest, but some stuff doesn’t even make it to your closet! According to a recent Forbes article, some brands (luxury, especially) purposely destroy unsold product to keep their brand exclusive and inaccessible to general consumers. It’s way more common than you think. 

2. The average American throws away 80lbs of clothing annually. Like in the trash.
Yeah, you. And us. Let’s fix this. If all that clothing were reused or recycled, it would save 6 million items from ending up in landfill per year. Alternatives for clothes you’re not digging anymore? Sell or donate them to thredUP, of course!

3. There are already SO many awesome clothes out there.  

Let’s not make new ones. Americans now buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980. This means we all have WAY more clothing than we actually wear. Did you know? On average, women only wear 30% of what’s in their closets. Give us the other 70% and we’ll get them to a new closet, stat.  

4. Putting a single garment back into the circular secondhand economy is EVERYTHING.

But first, what is circular fashion? It’s a simple concept: reuse or recycle everything by keeping products and materials in use. According to research conducted by WRAP UK, extending the life of clothes by just three months would lead to a 5-10% reduction in carbon, waste and water footprints! Let’s think in even longer terms. Returning one clothing item back into the circular economy and extending its life by an average of 2.2 years would reduce its carbon, waste and water footprints by 82%. That is what we like to call, making a difference.

5. If you shopped secondhand exclusively for one year, you’d save $2,129.
That’s a lot of dough. It’s a lot of morning lattes, luxe pedicures, and some not so indulgent things we all need $ for, like electric bills and gas. Next time you need a date night dress or a pair of black jeans, or a pink J.Crew off-the-shoulder top in size 8, just check thredUP first! On any given day, we have over 1 million items on our site from 35,000 brands.

6. Trends come and go, our tastes change, our bodies fluctuate. Life happens.
Today’s average consumer buys 60% more clothing items than they did in 2000, but each garment is kept only half as long. A product of the Instagram era? Maybe. But we’re only human. Capsule wardrobes aren’t for everyone. We like to play with fashion, too. thredUP offers the thrill of constant new arrivals without the environmental cost.

7. Waste ain’t nobody’s jam
Our main goal and priority at thredUP is to ensure that as many items as possible stay out of landfill. Used garments that don’t meet thredUP’s strict quality guidelines for resale are evaluated for inclusion in our Rescue program. Sometimes all an item needs is a little TLC. For the DIY-ers and pro thrifters, there are some amazing discoveries to be made!


8. You can turn your clothes into cash for charities
Not looking for a payout but love the convenience of cleaning out with thredUP? Choose a Donation Clean Out Bag. Instead of a payout, you’ll get a donation tax receipt and we’ll make a donation on your behalf to a charity of your choosing. Our Donations program is similar to those of the Goodwill and Salvation Army but because we don’t have any inventory limitations (we’ve got plenty of internet space!) we’re able to return TWICE as many clothing items back to the US circular secondhand economy. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, only 10-20% of clothing donated to charitable clothing companies is resold back into the community. 

9. You are a part of a large and growing movement that is making a real difference.

thredUP is on a mission to inspire a new generation to think secondhand first. We do this together by extending the life and impact of every garment and returning it to the circular secondhand economy. Our ultimate goal is to operate at a scale large enough to slow rising textile waste and challenge fast fashion shopping trends. How large is large? 100K used garments are processed for resale on thredUP EVERY DAY via our patent-pending automation technology and five processing and distribution centers located all across the US. In 2017 alone, we UPcycled 17 million items.

10. The future is secondhand.

One of our favorite stats around here (and we love stats, clearly) is that 70% of our thredUP customers are first-time resale shoppers. 70%! The sheer fact that thrift is becoming more mainstream is a sign that a powerful transformation is happening in people’s closets.

A few more stats (hehe):
If everyone bought used instead of new for just one year, we’d save:
165B lbs of CO2 = All the cars in Los Angeles taken off the road for 4 years
350B kwh of electricity = The annual power consumption of 32M homes
13T gallons of water = Water for all of California for 14 years

If you’re as convinced as we are, please share your thoughts on secondhand and your passion for change with your family, friends, co-workers, everyone. It takes a village, y’all.


Council for Textile Recycling

“A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future.” Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017

“No One In Fashion Is Surprised Burberry Burnt £28 Million Of Stock.” Forbes, 2018

2018 thredUP Resale Report