The Benefits of Thrifting


Kelsey Kim

Thrifting has become the latest trend amongst a variety of people, and it has many perks that reel in a multitude of customers. Whether you thrift for environmental reasons, or simply want a unique outfit, there’s tons of reasons to choose thrifting over other methods of shopping.

Thrifting is beneficial for the environment. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the fashion industry makes up over 10% of all carbon emissions. Producing new clothing requires large amounts of water, up to 650 gallons of water just for one T-shirt, or 1,800 gallons of water for a pair of jeans. Thrifting and buying secondhand clothing reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, and conserves clean water.

Many common types of clothing fabrics and materials negatively impact the environment, as they don’t decompose or degrade easily. According to Insider, polyester is one of the biggest pollutants of the ocean. Clothing items that are made of polyester are often dumped into the sea, and do not degrade easily in the water, which ends up polluting the waters and harming wildlife.

Landfills are filled to the brim with textiles. In a survey done by the Huffington Post, the average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing per year, which is about 26 trillion pounds of textiles that would end up in landfills and also burn fossil fuels and pollute the atmosphere.

On top of this, thrifting is good for the economy and helps local communities. Goodwill, a common store where people can find all different types of secondhand items, employs people who face barriers to possible employment. Salvation Army Family Stores also use proceeds to support centers for people struggling with various addictions. According to the Huffington Post, the secondhand industry employs 100,000 people in the United States and creates $1 billion worth of wages in the U.S. alone.

Finally, many people enjoy thrifting because of how affordable it is, and how you can find clothing items that are one-of-a-kind. For kids in high school, or anyone in general, it’s also more convenient to shop at places that don’t cost as much money, and at different thrift stores, the quality of the items is nearly the same. “I really like all the interesting things I can find, and the fact that they’re cheaper than shopping at normal retail stores is great too,” Fiona Kim ‘24 said.

Another reason people have begun thrifting is to combat fast fashion and help the environment. Many people, especially in younger generations, acknowledge the fact that the fashion industry is one of the leading causes of pollution on the planet. “Thrifting is a really good way to start to stop buying from fast fashion brands,” Keira Haley ‘24 said.

So much waste comes from fast fashion, so thrifting and buying used clothes is a really good alternative to mainstream brands.