Guest post by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff of MommyGreenest.com.
It used to be that shopping was simple. You went to the mall, found something you liked, figured out if it was worth the price, and bought it—or didn’t.
But it’s a lot more complicated now. We hear about fast fashion and fair trade, organic and GMO, water conserving and air polluting. When you think about the bigger picture, it’s difficult to justify buying anything.
Let me make it simple for you: Shop preloved by thrifting, swapping and buying on consignment.
Shopping preloved doesn’t just get you gorgeous clothes at a great price. It also can make a huge difference to the environment. According to the Global Fashion Exchange, a full 95% of the clothes that we toss into the landfill are recyclable, and each year 1.7 billion clothing items go unused in closets across the globe. The average American throws six pounds of textile waste away every month!
Buying and selling preloved clothes keeps them out of the waste stream. But better yet, it disrupts the $3 trillion fashion industry, which depends on cheap and often toxic production so that we can have new clothes.
Today, a basic t-shirt requires 1/3 of a pound of toxic fertilizer to produce—the cotton crop it’s made from uses 17% of the world’s insecticides and is 94% genetically modified. And it takes more than 2,000 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans—that’s equal to nearly 300 showers. The textile industry is the world’s second largest water polluter, after agriculture.
But buying preloved is the antidote. It’s guilt-free shopping at its best. So go ahead: Find something you like, assess the price, and buy it. It’s not complicated!
Featured on “TODAY” and “CNN Headline News,” among others, Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a journalist, consultant and sustainability advocate. The former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, Rachel was the co-founder of the online magazine EcoStiletto and authored a spinoff book, The Big List of Things That Suck. Today, she publishes MommyGreenest.com where annually she challenges women to the Shop Drop Challenge—give up shopping new for 30 days—in an effort to raise awareness of the environmental impact of fashion, and the eco-friendly options that thrifting, swapping and consignment provide. Previously a partner at the world’s first swap boutique, Rachel has exclusively shopped preloved for more than four years.