Everyday Environmentalist

Swap, Don't Shop

"One person's closet is definitely another person's treasure."

-Madeline Van Tassel, associate director of content for the Conservancy's Global Communications team

By Madeline Van Tassel

They say one person's trash is another person’s treasure. Well, I believe that one person's closet is definitely another person's treasure. Hiding in the dark corners of a closet, one can often find long-forgotten pieces of clothing that come exactly in a friend’s size.

Who needs to buy brand new clothes when these little treasures exist at no cost to your wallet or the environment? 

The next time you need a shopping fix, skip the mall and organize a clothing swap with a group of friends. Ask each guest to bring at least 5 items of clothing, hang everything up on a clothing rack or clothesline and start swapping!

You can impress your swappers with the benefits of wearing secondhand clothing vs. buying new:

  • Waste: Clothes that we throw away take up precious space in landfill sites, which are filling up rapidly. In fact, the average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles a year.
  • Water: Did you know it takes 10,000 liters of water to produce just 1 kg of cotton? Save some H2O by inheriting a pair of jeans from a friend.
  • Resources: Manufacturing textiles like polyester and rayon puts a huge strain on our natural world. Hand-me-down clothing means less greenhouse gas, less pesticides and less pollution.
  • Packaging: Shopping bags, shipping boxes, yuck — you can make the green choice by skipping packaging all together when you host or attend a clothing swap.

Green never looked so good.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not represent those of The Nature Conservancy.



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