Thrifting is the New Recycling


The environment is not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about thrift stores.

Instead, I picture the rows upon rows of forgotten clothes that look like they could dress all of those random kids in a 90’s Spanish textbook. I think of the musky old man smell and cigarette smoke that permeates every corner of the building. Mostly, I think about the creepy broken dolls and stuffed animals that seem to glare at me from their dilapidated wire cage.

Of course, thrifting is also very fun. There’s no other rush quite like finding a vintage pair of mom jeans or picking up an ugly Christmas sweater for a hot cocoa party.

Not to mention, a lot of thrift stores also help people find jobs, and most even raise money for charities . . . 

Yadda yadda yadda. That’s great and all, but how can thrifting specifically help the environment?

To begin with, thrift stores keep nonbiodegradable junk out of landfills.

Instead, these things find their way around Goodwill's and Salvation Army's across the country and potentially have the chance to be bought and reused. In fact, many environmentally-focused blogs and websites encourage people who are either moving or just engaging in some much-needed spring cleaning to bring their old furniture and clothes to their local drop-off, instead of simply throwing them away. It literally takes no effort (most of the time there are people to help you unload), and it’s such an easy way to help the environment.

Also, if you’re a first time home buyer and are in the need of Tupperware and cheap coffee mugs . . . yeah, the answer is Goodwill. Not TJ Maxx.

Which also brings me to my next point. There is very little need for people to buy the number of new things that they do in a year, especially clothes.

While many people don’t stop and think about the true influence of mass consumerism, the fashion industry itself has a large impact on the environment. For instance, it partly contributes to the rising carbon emissions every year. This could be from the number of outdated clothes that end up in landfills, the increase in waste burning facilities, or even the amount of resources needed to run those textile factories that make your new clothes.

In addition, those same factories dump tons and tons of soaps, dyes, and other chemicals into our oceans every year and pose a serious threat to those ecosystems.

That’s right. Your BOGO deals at Forever 21 are killing the fish.

Instead, thrift stores allow people the opportunity to recycle old clothing and materials (often into cute and vintage finds) and keep the overproduction of textiles in check. They also help lessen the amount of junk ending up in landfills every day and keep pollution out of smaller towns.

Overall, thrift stores aren’t just great for us penny-pinchers. Mother Nature also approves.