Is buying secondhand clothes more sustainable?

3 min readMar 17, 2021

It’s Gaia here. Yes I am talking about wearing other people’s clothes. Cool, right?
For those of you who haven’t yet discovered the wonders of thrifting, I can assure you, you’re missing out.

The Level — on Renoon

With the real and intensifying threat of climate change, we all need to do our bit for the environment and shopping secondhand is a great way to do so!

Numbers on second-hand and sustainability

Producing new clothes requires huge amounts of resources both human and natural, as I touched on in previous blog posts. On the other hand, secondhand clothes have already been produced and extending their life reduces their impact on the environment.

Fashion Revolution calculated that doubling the useful life of clothing from one to two years reduces emissions over the year by 24%! This obviously also means that re-wearing your clothes is the most sustainable option before you go out and buy new ones, but if you do need something you don’t already own, chances are that you can find it on the preloved section on the Renoon app, that combines what’s out there from multiple websites at once!

Re-wearing is so important if we consider that we buy 60% more clothes than we did 15 years ago and only keep them for half as long! (Fashion Revolution) With the pace of the industry constantly increasing, to the point where around 150 billion garments are produced annually (Sustainable Apparel Materials 2015), clothes we bought just 6 months ago can start to feel old as new styles are rapidly introduced.

Where to get started on second hand

Have you ever rummaged through your mum or grandma’s wardrobe to discover that the now very trendy bell bottom trousers were also popular back then? If not, what are you waiting for? Trends are circular, nothing you see on shelves today is really new, a lot of it is actually inspired by looks of the past!

This is why I absolutely love shopping secondhand, you can find a lot of gems that resemble current trends but are likely to be made with better, more durable, quality materials! Clothes in the past were more expensive and made to last, unlike the current fast fashion garments which are cheaply made to be constantly replaced.

Secondhand stores store unique quality garments for all pockets! If charity shops aren’t your thing, try looking for consignment stores or vintage stores which are usually more expensive but sell more high end, luxury items in great conditions.

Keeping clothes alive

As we currently produce and consume so many garments, you’re probably wondering, where do they all end up? Aside from our crowded closets filled with impulse purchases we regret, a great deal of clothes are landfilled. In the UK, an estimated 300,000 tones of clothes, worth around £140 million, are thrown away and go to landfills every year (Wrap, 2017). This goes to show that by wasting garments, we are wasting value and all the precious resources that went into the making of those garments. Aside from re-wearing, restyling and repurposing our existing clothes, we can lessen this waste by giving another life to someone else’s clothes.

Diverting clothes from landfill is so important as garments in landfill release harmful substances and especially synthetics take around 500 years to decompose. We need to buy and dispose of items more mindfully.

Rewear — Restyle — Repurpose — Renoon




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