“Second Hand September”, similar to Plastic Free July is a time for self-reflection and to take a look at the products we consume, specifically “new” items. As a society, we are encouraged to buy the newest version of things, whether it be technology, cars, clothing, or furniture. This is a time to step back and ask yourself, do I need a NEW outfit for my upcoming event or could I find a great outfit at my local second-hand shop?
Each year thousands, and sometimes millions, of TONS of clothing and textiles, end up in the landfills. Waste does not only mean trash and packaging but any excess of products that we bring into our lives. In regards to clothing, “Fast Fashion” is described as inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. This means clothing is continuously being made in large amounts and a majority of the time, not sustainably. Fast fashion clothing can be made using an excess amount of water, non-sustainable materials, and poor labor conditions.
Even choosing to only shop with sustainable brands might not be the best solution to the issue. Overconsumption is not sustainable, even if you are purchasing from sustainable brands. Sustainable brands are doing their best to offer better options, however, these options, most of the time, are still “new”. The most sustainable thing we can do as a society to slow down our new product consumption is to use what we already have. Make a point to shop at second-hand stores first before going to a traditional shop. (Shopping second hand can even save you more money and some stores will offer to pay for your used clothing!) Get creative with finding items that are “new to you”. Organize swap meets with your family and friends, attend yard sales on the weekend or find a local thrift store to support. Learn how to repair or repurpose what you have. (There are YouTube videos for EVERYTHING) Did you get a rip in one of your favorite shirts? Try to sew it or repair it. If you’re not able to, cut it up and turn it into some rags for cleaning around the house.
This isn’t to say you can’t ever buy new items again! Obviously we are not telling you to buy used underwear! We’re just encouraging you to take a look at alternatives to buying new. If we continue to take steps towards consuming less and creating less waste we’re moving in the right direction to save our planet and make it cleaner for future generations. Take the #SecondHandSeptemberChallenge and try to only shop second hand this month. You can do it! We believe in you!