Can Buying and Selling Consignment Really Save the World?
Check it out, gang! The first Pea Shoots blog post! This first post is about consignment (obviously) but future posts will broaden out into all sorts of parent-friendly topics.
If you're reading this, chances are you already know that consignment is an affordable way to update your child's wardrobe and save a few bucks at the same time. Obviously, reusing or re-purposing items otherwise headed for the landfill is better for the environment but can shopping thrift and consignment really make a big impact?
According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, the answer is a resounding YES! Each year, the average Canadian throws away 37 KILOS of textile waste with the majority of it ending up in landfills (that's more than 81 pounds of clothes people!) Count out 81 blocks of butter the next time you are grocery shopping, picture it in the dumpster and then imagine everyone around you doing the same thing.
Our hunger for fast and ever-changing fashion has contributed to making the fashion industry the second largest polluter in the world (second only to the oil and gas industry.)
It takes 700 gallons of water to make ONE t-shirt and 1300 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans! That's a lot of water for some skinny jeans and a cute top. Dyes and other harsh chemicals used in the fashion making process make their way into waterways and soils, polluting the land around them.
And despite a trend to recycle more, we donate more clothes than what thrift and resale stores can handle with much if it ending up in third world countries. The vast amount of textile waste being shipped overseas prompted some African countries to ban the import of secondhand clothing. Bottom line? We must all do better at using and re-using clothing and other items that are already out there and circulating in the world.
The stats are staggering and can leave you feeling a bit depressed. But just like it takes a village to raise a child, it will take all of us to help start moving the fashion industry back in the right direction. By making small commitments to a thriftier lifestyle, you can have a huge impact on the planet AND your wallet.
- Get rotating! No, not like that sicko. :) Get rotating as in put consignment and thrift stores in your shopping rotation. Choose a time, day or week to hit up your favourite spots or discover some new ones. Inventory arrives daily and new gems are always waiting to be discovered.
- Less is More. Look for classic items that can be combined with items you already own.
- Choose Quality. Choose well-made brands that will stand the test of time and follow the care label instructions (especially if you plan to re-consign them later which of course you will because consigning is the best!) Take a pass on cheaply made items that will last only a few washes.
- Choose Stores Closer to Home. If you can't find what you are looking for used, then choose to buy new from retailers who are closer to home. Choosing local or Canadian-based stores reduce travel time and keeps your money where you live! Small business owners really do perform the happy dance when you purchase from them - memes don't lie!
Should you never buy new? Of course not! Heck, I sell new items in my store so saying that would be awfully hypocritical. But if we all become a bit more thoughtful of what and if we choose to buy new, the planet will thank us!
Are you a hardcore thrifter or just dipping your toes in the resale water? What do you do to reuse or re-purpose the textiles in your life? Let me know in the comments!