According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Landfills received 11.3 million tons of MSW textiles in 2018.” MSW stands for municipal solid waste, and more simply means household garbage. That equals over 50,000 Statue of Liberty’s worth of textiles sent to be landfilled in the US each year. And that number just keeps going up. So, what can you do to keep clothing out of the landfill? While recycling (or donating) is important we always emphasize that reducing and reusing should be a priority. Donating clothes is far better than landfilling, but it does not eliminate the impact of our fast fashion culture that promotes cheap clothing. Buying second hand checks the boxes for reducing AND reusing. Another huge benefit to buying used clothing? You can save money and resources. As we all deal with the implications of increased inflation, finding a solution for saving money and reducing waste is a win win.
There are many options online and locally to source secondhand clothing. Secondhand clothing is also much more affordable, allowing you to source higher quality materials and pieces that you may not be able to afford new.
Did you know you can even make money when cleaning out your closet? Some used clothing retailers will pay you for your used clothing. They are generally more selective about what they accept, but it is a great opportunity to learn what clothing has value and is worth donating and what is not. This can help to make better choices when purchasing clothing in the future.
Below are a few local and online resources for making some extra cash from your used clothing.
- Lily’s Consignment Shoppe, Plato’s Closet, Changing Closets, and Once Upon A Child, are all local secondhand stores that will accept on consignment or buy used clothing in excellent condition.
- Carter’s sponsors a program to collect all brands of non-donatable baby and kid clothing and you can even earn points toward purchases with Carter’s.
- Patagonia has a trade-in program where you can trade in used Patagonia pieces for store credit.
- ThredUp, Poshmark, and For Days are a few other online resources for buying and selling your used clothing.
Another option for promoting clothing reuse is by hosting a clothing swap. Invite your friends to clean out their closets and bring unwanted items to the swap. Everyone gets to enjoy hunting for a new favorite sweater, dress, or scarf.
There are numerous other locations that take donations of used clothing, but do not reimburse you. Be sure to check out some of the other used clothing stores throughout the county when making your next clothing purchase. We are currently working on a comprehensive list of all the donation locations in Ontario County. We’ll share that with you in an upcoming article. Do you know of another great resource for donating clothing or buying second hand, either locally or online? We’d love to hear about it!