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How and Why to Support Sustainable Shopping

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Originally Published: Oct.11.2020

At least once a year we clean out our closets. In no way am I condemning being organized, needing a fresh start, or allowing yourself to buy something new for you. I know just as much as everyone else how rejuvenating these processes can be for your mental health. But it is important to ask where do the old clothes go, where do you get your new clothes, and how is that making an impact on our environment?

Where do the old clothes go: A few times a year I look at my closet for items that are being underutilized and overutilized. I am guilty of having too many clothes than I need or keeping that one dress just in case I need it, even though I have plenty of other options. That is okay, we are human and maybe having that extra dress just in case brings a little comfort. After deciding which pieces of clothing are not being used as much as they could be, or could be better used by someone else, I resell or donate them. I list items to Poshmark, and my local Facebook community selling sites or take them to a consignment shop. I look for clothing drives benefiting others in need, allow my friends to take what I no longer want, or donate the items to Goodwill. If I loved a piece of clothing a little too much, I will reuse it by creating cleaning cloths out of them. Just make sure it does not end up in one of the many landfills taking over our Earth or as part of the average 13 million tonnes of textiles thrown away a year in the United States.

Where do you get your new clothes: It was not too long ago that I was swept into the whirlwind we call fast fashion. Fast fashion is a term that represents the cheap clothing produced quickly by mass marketers to keep up with the changing trends. I shopped from Shein, American Eagle, Primark, Forever 21, NastyGal, and many other companies that follow a fast fashion model for their production of clothing. Once I realized just how detrimental fast fashion is to our environment, I quickly found myself receiving my friends unwanted clothing, shopping at consignment shops such as Plato’s Closet, frequently visiting Goodwill, and using apps such as Poshmark to fulfill my fashion needs.

How does this impact our environment: Not only do unused or unwanted clothes end up in our landfills, littering our natural lands and affecting wildlife. It depletes our resources as well. To put it in perspective, think about one pair of jeans, most of us, myself included own more than one pair of jeans. By producing one pair of jeans it requires the equivalent of nine years of drinking water for one person. Nine years’ worth of drinking water for one pair of new jeans! I think that speaks for itself. Not long after it adds up to 92 million tonnes of water that shows just how much water is being wasted.

I am hoping that after reading this, you will consider sustainable shopping that next time, you decide to clean out your closet or go for a shopping trip. The future of our environment depends on it

Julia Harpel

West Chester '23

Julia Harpel is a third-year student at West Chester Univerisity. She is working towards her BSED English Writings Track with a Creative Writing Minor. She hopes to one day earn a Master's Degree. Julia is a mental health advocate, environmentalist, and feminist. When she is not at school, at work, writing, or reading, she loves to spend time with friends, go on adventures such as kayaking, and listen to country music.
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