Reduce, reuse, and recycle– they’re household names at this point and recycling seems to be the most popular option. After all, recycling still allows for consumption but limits waste. So why is it last on the list? Why should reducing and reusing take place before recycling?
Recycling is vital in combating climate change, but it still requires massive amounts of energy to repurpose recyclable materials. Reducing and reusing materials, such as clothing, negates the possibility of waste and/or energy usage.
The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing a year, which leads to 86 billion pounds of clothing in landfills. Fast Fashion, trendy designs that are produced cheaply and quickly, exploits workers and increasingly normalized two-day shipping has a larger carbon footprint than standard shipping and in-store shopping. So, what should a fashionable, sustainable citizen do?
Shopping secondhand is one of the best ways to reduce the impact of personal consumption. But you knew that already!
I’ve listed below some of my favorite local and online secondhand options.
Mission Thrift is Auburn’s largest independent thrift store and my favorite secondhand spot because of the variety. Books, vinyl, furniture, bedding, wedding dresses, accessories, women’s, men’s, and children’s clothes, and shoes can all be found within its walls. Whew! However, these items can be found at thrift stores across town at reasonable prices, and it’s worth your while to explore them all.
Angel’s Antiques is one of my favorite spots for furniture, specialty clothing, and random knick-knacks that’ll step up your apartment decor. Its large layout and multiple vendors keep things interesting. You’ll never know what you’ll find waltzing down one of Angel’s hallways! Not to mention, exploring Angel’s with a friend or a date makes for an afternoon well spent.
Shopping at local secondhand stores is a great sustainable practice, but thrift stores are not the best for finding specific items. Online shopping makes specific shopping much easier, and if done right can have a lower negative impact on the environment than buying in-person, according to a University of California study. Researchers found online shopping with standard shipping, not two-day, to be more sustainable than buying in-person. Most of us turn to online shopping when looking for something specific, so why not check out some online secondhand options? Selling and buying gently used clothes online through Poshmark, eBay, or Depop is a win for the seller and buyer.
These platforms provide a user-friendly interface that makes selling easy while buyers can seek out specific items that otherwise might be lost in a vast selection of thrift store racks. Poshmark goes for a downtown boutique vibe while Depop finds would make any Instagram model jealous. eBay is for everything in between and more! I personally love Depop because of the unique style without Urban Outfitters markups.
Check out these secondhand options to revamp your wardrobe (and combat climate change!)
Auburn has plenty of secondhand stores–
- Mission Thrift
- Salvation Army
- Plato’s Closet
- Angel’s Antiques
- Harvest Thrift
- New Leaf Furniture
Don’t forget about the online options (just nix the two-day shipping)–
- Auburn Exchange (on Facebook)
- Thrift Pick
For more secondhand stores and other local resources check out the Office of Sustainability website.
Post contributed by Michaela Walton, Office of Sustainability Student Staff