Published on january 15, 2020

How Dirty is Your Closet: Introducing thredUP’s Fashion Footprint Calculator 

written by Team thredUP

Our Fashion Footprint Quiz is here, take it right now!

While nearly all of us (92%!) want to shop more sustainably in 2020, nearly 2 out of 3 women say they have no idea how to reduce their fashion footprint. That’s why we partnered with independent environmental research firm Green Story Inc. to create thredUP’s Fashion Footprint Calculator. It’s a tool anyone can use to quickly determine their carbon footprint associated with clothing purchase, care, and disposal habits, and to find out how small actions like shopping secondhand or air drying your clothes can make a big impact in reducing it. 

Are you an Eco Newbie or a Green Queen? Take our fashion footprint quiz and see how your shopping habits are helping (or hurting) the planet. Bonus: Your score unlocks exclusive offers from Rent the Runway, Christy Dawn, and many more! 


“While it’s universally known that fashion pollution is a problem, we were surprised to find that most consumers don’t think their individual clothing choices matter. The reality is, to change course, both brands and consumers need to take action and make positive changes,” said Erin Wallace, our VP of Integrated Marketing. “We know most consumers want to do better, but aren’t sure how. thredUP’s Fashion Footprint Calculator aims to show how each one of us can play a role in reducing the carbon footprint of our individual closets to collectively create a more sustainable fashion future. The more we understand the impact of our fashion choices, the easier it is to make smart decisions.”

About thredUP’s Fashion Footprint Calculator 

thredUP’s Fashion Footprint Calculator aims to educate consumers about the carbon impact of their clothing habits, and how they can do better.

-Answer a series of questions about how you buy, wear and care for your clothes. 

-Reveal the total carbon your closet generates annually, along with how you compare to the average consumer. 

-View the top nine ways to reduce your footprint, along with an Eco-Directory highlighting sustainable brands.

-Get exclusive offers—your score unlocks discounts from Rent the Runway, Christy Dawn, and more! 

Common Questions 

What is a carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint is your individual carbon impact on the planet. It takes into account any activity you participate in that emits greenhouse gases, including CO2, methane gas, and nitrous oxide. 

What is a fashion footprint?
Your fashion footprint is your carbon impact on the planet that is determined by your shopping habits, clothing choices, and laundry care. 

Where is the fashion footprint data from?
The fashion footprint calculator was created with independent research firm, Green Story Inc. 

How did you calculate the carbon impact for the fashion footprint calculator?
Green Story calculated the carbon footprint of different behaviors associated with garment purchase, care and disposal. The impact was calculated through in-depth research utilizing peer-reviewed studies, clothing supply chain databases, as well as independently reviewed life-cycle analysis done for thredUP by Green Story Inc. The impact of different types of clothing was accounted for by using a weighted average of clothing by type and fabric. Baseline impacts were determined as per global and US consumer behavioral research surveys. 

Does the calculator take into account all apparel, footwear, and accessories or just clothes?
The fashion footprint calculator is solely focused on clothing. 

Should I answer the questions for myself or my entire household?
The fashion footprint calculator is based on your individual carbon impact. So, just you! 

What does my score mean?
There is no wrong score or bad score. The calculator reveals the total carbon your closet generates annually, and how you compare to the average American. Many factors come into play when determining your total fashion footprint. Our goal is to raise awareness of the carbon impact of our clothing habits and explore ways we can all do better. 

I’m overwhelmed with all this info, what should I do now?
We’re huge proponents of incremental change around here. Use the infographic on the results page to determine which fashion habits contribute the most to climate change, and where you think you can realistically make improvements. Any shift in behavior, however small, helps! Like shopping secondhand (wink, wink). 

I walk or bike to do most of my shopping. Is online shopping still better for the environment? In this case, no. The biggest impact of in-store shopping is driving to the store in a car. Walking and biking are great transport options that have the lowest carbon impact. 

I’ve read that renting clothes isn’t sustainable because of shipping and dry cleaning. Is this reflected in the quiz results? Transportation and shipping is but dry cleaning is not. There is still more research to be done to evaluate the full eco-impact of renting garments. Rent the Runway is committed to sustainability and uses responsible dry cleaning methods.

Let us know all the ways you’re planning on reducing your fashion footprint in 2020! Any questions? Ask us below! 

Click here for quiz and infographic sources.