Why Second Hand? #secondhandseptember

"I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I, I, I'm hunting, looking for a come-up
This is fucking awesome"
(Thrift Shop, Macklemore)

I would happen to agree with Macklemore, maybe with less expletives though. 
Anyone that knows me personally knows not to ask me where something is from now. The answer is normally second hand. They have also stopped asking me if I'm worried if someone died in it. No, I''m not. I'm just glad not to be contributing to a massive global problem. And to be slowly kicking a massive addiction. 

I love a good second hand shop, a trawl of a charity shop, a rummage at a car boot. The thrill of the chase as it were. However, I also love the feeling that I'm not contributing to a massive global problem. The fast fashion problem. This addiction we have to 'new' -Greenpeace found that sales of clothing have almost doubled since 2002. In 2002 sales were at about one trillion dollars. This was at 1.8 trillion in 2015.

Of course waste is a huge factor in these facts and stats. But buying new also has huge impacts on water consumption, waste, pollution, child labour, working conditions and wages. Always worth thinking about when investing your hard earned pennies.  

If you are finding it hard to kick your addiction, then maybe these facts will help you when you feel yourself having a wobble. (Oh, and that is totally a thing. I have to give myself a talking to about the lure of the high street a lot. IT DOES GET EASIER) or if someone is being a Debbie Downer about your second hand shopping... whip out these facts and stats. If anyone wants to see my sources, drop me a message. All of them can be substantiated :) 


  • The average person buys 60% more items of clothing and keeps them for about half as long as 15 years ago. 
  • 30% of clothing in the average UK wardrobe has not been worn in the past year or so. This equates to around 1.7 billion items of clothing not been worn for at least a year.
  • The average UK household spends £1,700 on purchasing clothing annually. 
  • The carbon emissions generated by the clothing of the average UK household is equivalent to driving an average modern car 6,000 miles. 
  • The global apparel and footwear industry accounts for 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions releasing  four metric gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. 
  • More than 50% of the emissions from clothing production comes from three phases: dyeing and finishing (36%), yarn preparation (28%) and fibre production (15%). 
  • The fashion industry’s CO2 emissions are projected to increase to nearly 2.8 billion tons per year by 2030— equivalent to the emissions of 230 million passenger vehicles driven for a year.
  • Over 50% of workers within the fashion industry are not paid the minimum wage in countries like India and the Philippines. 
  • In Pakistan’s garment sector, 87% of women are paid less than the minimum wage. 
  •  63% of textile fibres are derived from petrochemicals.
  • Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new textiles and fibres. 
  • Water-thirsty plant cotton linked to water depletion, accounts for 30% of all textile fibre consumption.
  • Although the cultivation area of cotton covers only 3% of the planet’s agricultural land, its production consumes an estimated 16% of all insecticides and 7% of all herbicides. 
  • By 2030, it is predicted that the fashion industry will use 35% more land for cotton, forest for cellulose fibres, and grassland for livestock. 
  • It takes about 2,720 litres of water to produce just one cotton shirt – a number equivalent to what an average person drinks over three years. 
  • It takes about 10,000 litres of water to produce enough cotton for a pair of jeans. 
  • Researchers anticipate the industry’s water consumption will increase by 50% by 2030 as cotton producers are located in countries suffering water stress, such as China and India. 
  • It takes about 170,000 litres of water to grow a kilogram of wool. 
  • Each year 1.3 trillion gallons of water is used for fabric dyeing alone. 
  • Garment manufacturing accounts for 20% of global industrial water pollution. 
  • About 1,900 synthetic plastic microfibres per garment are released when washed and due to its tiny sizes and shapes, aren’t caught in waste water treatment and enter our oceans. 
  • 1.4 quadrillion microfibres are estimated to be in the ocean as a result of laundering clothes. 
  • Of the 2,400 substances used in clothing manufacturing, researchers found that approximately 30% of the identified substances posed a risk to human health. 
  • Nearly three-fifths or 60% of all clothing produced ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being made. 
  • Of the total fibre input used for clothing, 87% is landfilled or incinerated costing $100 billion annually.
  • The total level of fashion waste is expected to be 148 million tons by 2030—equivalent to annual waste of 17.5 kg per capita across the planet.
  • Americans throw away a total of 14 million tonnes of textiles each year. 
  • UK disposes of 350,000 tonnes (£140 million worth) of clothing in landfills every year. 
  • One in six millennials (16%) aged between 16-34 say they generally keep their clothes for under two years before throwing them away. 
  • 57% of Australians dispose of clothes because they no longer fit.
  • 24% of Australians aged 16-34 throw away clothes because they are ‘bored’ of wearing them. 


Older Post Newer Post