Why Thrifting Matters

Photo by Ysabel Berger

With an increase in tuition at UVU this fall semester, here are three reasons for students to consider shopping secondhand (and two reasons not to

Three Reasons to Thrift:

– With the average American consumer spending $1,000 to $2,000 a year on clothing, thrifting can be a cost-effective alternative. Since many of the goods at thrift shops are donated, items are often marked down in price. Many items at thrift stores, including cookware and furniture, can be more affordable prices for students on a budget.

– Thrifting can impact the environment. In 2017, the US generated 16.9 million tons of clothing pollution, with 11.2 million tons of textiles filling landfills. To put that into perspective, one ton is equal to 2,000 pounds and weighs as much as a baby humpback whale. Shopping at thrift stores gives new life to items that would’ve been taken to landfills.

– Thrifting can benefit communities. Apparel at thrift stores are more accessible due to their lower costs and could be an easier alternative for consumers with a lower income compared to purchasing clothing at name-brand stores. Some thrift stores, such as Salvation Army and Goodwill, are non-profit organizations built to create jobs and give back to the community.

Two Reasons Not to Thrift

– The cheapened value of commodities at thrift stores may increase the habit of buying unnecessary items. On average, the American consumer wears only about 20% of what’s in their closet, Unworn outfits can take up space or clutter your closet, or may even increase the number of articles that are thrown away.

– Some objects, such as vintage dishware, contain hazardous materials such as lead. Lead is a toxic substance often used for glazing pottery or ceramics pieces and is much more regulated now than it was in the past. A tip for wary buyers would be to research the year or the name of the brand label on the back of the ceramic piece to determine its lead content or try testing dishware for lead levels at home. 

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