Weather-events this year have proven how far-reaching the effects of climate change can be, even here in the UK. With this in mind, here's one way you can help with sustainability and save money with the Secondhand September initiative.
Now in its fourth year and championed by Oxfam, #SecondhandSeptember on Facebook and Instagram encourages us to only buy second hand for 30 days through or from September. We think this is a great ethos any time of the year!
Why Buy Second Hand?
The fashion industry is reported to be the second largest polluter of the environment after transportation. An estimated £140 million of clothes go into landfill each year alone.
Buying second hand has multiple benefits.
It’s kinder to the planet as fewer raw materials are needed and kinder to your wallet. Not only this, but you can often create a more unique look using second hand clothing or homewares.
Benefits of Second Hand for the Planet
The annual footprint of newly bought clothes, including washing and cleaning, is the equivalent of each household driving 6000 miles a year and 100 bathtubs of water!
By buying second hand, you can save on excessive water consumption, toxic chemical use, inhumane working conditions and carbon emissions. For example, a single cotton shirt requires 2500l water alone to produce. Polyester clothes use fossil fuels and can be challenging to recycle.
Benefits for You
Buying second hand is not only good for the environment but also good for you. For a start it gives you the opportunity to support charities in their excellent work. This brings a sense of well-being – knowing you’re doing good whilst shopping.
You can save a lot of money buying second hand, and in doing so, you can buy much higher quality and longer-lasting items. With costs rising in the shops, this is a huge benefit for many people.
Buying second hand, also means you can explore more brands and create your own unique style rather than bumping into someone else wearing this season’s fashion. It can be a real sense of achievement to put together a new look you’ve created yourself.
What Can You Buy Second Hand?
Second Hand September primarily focuses on fashion sustainability, but the principle can be applied throughout the year to most things we buy.
Sometimes you want or need to buy items new, but almost anything can be bought second hand for savings in your pocket and the environment.
How To Buy Second Hand
The main choices on how and where to buy second hand are online, in shops, or both.
Buy In Store
Many charities have stores on high streets up and down the country and in shopping malls, with some creating ‘boutique’ environments.
Some high street chains have second hand concessions, showcasing vintage finds. You can round the circle of sustainability in many stores by donating your pre-worn clothes in-store, often in return for a voucher to spend.
Charities don’t just stock clothes, though. Many also sell homewares, electrical goods and even furniture. Some have specialist stores for larger goods and may offer delivery, so check locally.
More and more independent second hand stores are popping up now, selling vintage clothes and home items. These are also great places to buy as you can be confident the choice of goods has been specially chosen, and you’re supporting a small local business.
Many charities now offer second hand shopping online for a greater geographical reach. This article highlights lots of places you might want to look.
Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Depop, Vinted, and Gumtree are all sites that put sellers and buyers in touch with each other, and many offer postage options so you can enjoy items you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
Which? has a handy report showing the best places to buy for customer service and reliability, so be sure to check it out for useful hints.
Many retailers also offer a combination of online and in-person shopping experiences, like Vintage Recovery, who joined us at Bexley Eco Festival 2022. They’re hosting their first in-person market event in Bromley on Saturday 8th, October where you can check out their vintage and reworked clothing for the ultimate in feel-good fashion.