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How Thrifting Helps the Environment

It seems like everyone is looking for a way to be better to the environment nowadays, as they should be, but it’s difficult to change your whole life and routine. Going to the thrift shop is actually a great way to help save water and it’s one of the best ways to get clothes. You can find very cool items and it’s a cheap way to get a nice wardrobe. The biggest reason thrifting is good for the environment is that clothing requires a lot of water to produce. 

The image is a rack of clothing
Via JamesDemers on Pixabay

Like, 700 gallons for a single t-shirt. If one company makes 10,000 shirts that’s 7,000,000 gallons of water. That’s a f*ck ton of water! Do you really think American Eagle or any other store at the mall only makes 10,000 shirts a year? With how much they sell over how many stores? No way! They have got to use so much water! Different fabrics require different amounts of water as do different dyes, so this is just an estimate based on an average.

melting iceberg
Mathieu Perrier- Unsplash

Making our clothes uses an incredible amount of water…so how does thrifting help? Well, for every shirt that is thrifted that’s 700 gallons of water that didn’t need to be used to make a new shirt. Using the same math as earlier if the same amount of people just thrifted instead of buying a new shirt that could save 7 million gallons of water. If enough people are thrifting instead of buying new, that also eventually lowers how much companies will make because they will realize that the don’t need to make as much product. That would save even more water. 

Cam Morin via Unsplash

I’m not trying to say that you can’t buy new clothes. Sometimes you’re looking for something specific, and it’s fair to want to buy it new. I would suggest purchasing items that might be a little more expensive, but they will last you much longer. Buy things that are high quality material that is going to last. This means that you won’t have to purchase another one any time soon, which is good for your wallet and for water usage.The other reason you would want to purchase high quality clothing items is because it actually uses more water to produce cheap fabrics. Fast fashion stores like Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters use more water to produce their clothes than a boutique or a local shop would. 

silly friends hats party store three girls
Molly Longest / Her Campus

While you don’t have to commit to only thrifting, it is a good idea to stop by when you’re thinking of getting new clothes. Not only does it save on water, you might find your new favorite pair of jeans!


Sophomore double majoring in English and Psychology at the University of Utah.
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