According to the EPA, in 2018, 17,030 thousand tons of textiles were generated in the United States. Of that, only about 15% is recycled, with the rest being combusted or landfilled (link). It is easy to see how textile waste is a large problem in the U.S. There are alternatives to throwing away old clothes, including donating them to thrift stores. This solution addresses the problem of throwing away old clothes, but there is also the other side of the problem with too many clothes being produced unnecessarily. Rather than buying new clothes every time new clothes are wanted or needed, consider shopping at thrift stores.
Thrifting has numerous benefits for both consumers and the planet. According to Stephanie Reed, author of an article examining the benefits of thrifting, “buying a used item reduces one’s carbon, waste, and water footprint by 82%” (link). This difference is incredibly significant. By purchasing clothing at a thrift store instead of buying something brand new, an individual can decrease their personal impact by 82%. Thrifting is also usually cheaper than buying things brand new. As Reed explains, “Designer clothing, vintage furniture, and unique artwork can all be found in thrift stores for a fraction of the price” (link). Not only can you reduce your environmental impact by thrifting but you can reduce your financial impact. Clothing in thrift stores is often higher quality than modern clothing as well, so it is also likely to last longer, furthering its financial benefits.
There are lots of great thrift store options around Indiana. I live in Indianapolis so I have been able to find a few around the Indy area that I highly recommend: