Published on august 24, 2018

10 Super Compelling Reasons Why You Need to Choose Used

written by Team thredUP


If you’re reading this, chances are you already know (and love!) the benefits of shopping secondhand. But apart from the savings, the variety, the good you’re doing for the planet, there are sooo many more reasons to love choosing used! Whether you’re a thrifty pro or a total newbie, you’ll dig our top 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 choose used!

Plus, scroll down for some awesome thrifty facts that prove that Earth Day is every day when you’re choosing used.

1. Fashion is one of the most pollutive industries in the world, next to oil. Yikes. We know oil gets a bad rap (hello, current electric car frenzy), but clothes?! Throwaway culture and wear-once fast fashion fads are slowly killing our planet. According to a study we conducted with Green Story, 34 BILLION garments are produced for the US market alone each year and 64% of them end up in landfill. That’s way too many clothes that aren’t even lasting a whole year.


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 in 2018, found that fashion is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, and is projected to drain a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. Eep. 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. 

In addition to carbon emissions, overproduction is draining our precious resources too. A single T-shirt takes 700 gallons of water to produce—the amount of water needed to grow cotton!

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! In 2018, the world discovered that some brands (luxury, especially) purposely destroy unsold products to keep their brand exclusive and inaccessible to general consumers. The habit of trashing new clothes is more common than you think. 

2. The average American throws away 81lbs 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. In our 2018 Resale Report, we discovered that 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 a 2017 study conducted by the American Apparel & Footwear Association, the average consumer buys 66 garments a year. If 80% of these garments were purchased used it would prevent 527 lbs of CO2 since new clothes would not have to be produced to fill your closet!

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 2 million items on our site from over 40,000 brands.

6. Trends come and go, our tastes change, our bodies fluctuate. Life happens.
We’re buying more clothes than ever, but keeping them for 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 are to ensure that as many items as possible stay out of landfill. Even clothes that need a little more attention deserve to have their lives extended. 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. To date, we’ve upcycled over 100 MILLION items! That saves 870 tons of CO2, which is enough for 74,000 road trips around the world!

10. The future is secondhand.

thredit-10ReasonsToShopSecondhand-07Secondhand is the new new. Thrift is no longer a taboo, and more and more retailers are getting on board. We couldn’t be happier to see more and more people fall in love with thrift. The sheer fact that thrift is becoming more mainstream is a sign that a powerful transformation is happening in people’s closets.

11+. Thrift can do sooo much good for the planet. We crunched the numbers… 

Thrift Fact #1: Secondhand offers the fun of fashion, minus the carbon footprint. 

Everything’s better in a secondhand sweater. If everyone in America bought one used item instead of new, we’d save: 5.7B lbs of CO2, that’s like taking half a million cars off the road for a year!

Thrift Fact #2: Choosing used is powerful (literally). 

If everyone bought used instead of new this year, we’d save 11B kWh of energy! That’s enough power to keep the Eiffel Tower lit for 141 years. Or power 1M homes for a whole year.

Thrift Fact #3: New jeans are a real drain on our resources, a used pair is a water (and curve) saver! 

Buying used denim over new saves 1,800 gallons of water! Plus, you don’t have to break them in. Win-win.

Thrift Fact #4: Dresses are one of the most carbon-intensive items to produce. Alongside to outerwear and denim. 

Saying yes to a used dress reduces its carbon impact by 79%.

Thrift Fact #5: Thrift could save us from more trips to the dump. 

If everyone bought one item used instead of new, we’d save 449M lbs of waste. That’s like 18,700 garbage trucks.

Thrift Fact #6: Shopping secondhand makes us breathe easier. It’s pretty comforting to know you’re helping the planet. 

If everyone in the US bought one item used instead of new, we’d save 5.7B lbs of CO2e. That’s like planting 66M trees! 

That’s just a tidbit of what we’re learning, and we’re sooo excited that you’re on board with us. 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.



“We Are All Accumulating Mountains of Things.” The Atlantic, 2018

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 

2019 thredUP Resale Report

Last updated in March 2020.