Tips

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Some within the clothing industry believe clothing is the number two polluter in the world, right next to the oil industry.  Because the clothing industry is incredibly complex: long supply chains, manufacturing, clothing construction, shipping, and the disposal of the each item, we may never know it's full impact on the environment. 

There are easy things we can do today to lessen the environmental impact: dispose of our unwanted clothing sustainably, change the way we consume, and when we do purchase clothing, purchase from the used market.

1. Dispose of unwanted clothing by donating. 

Only about 15% of textiles are donated each year, the rest ends up in landfills.  An outstandingly low number when you realize what happens to donated clothing. The average American throws away over 80 pounds of textile waste per year.  These discarded textiles are typically made out of synthetic material that takes hundreds of years to decompose. 

Instead of throwing away textiles, donating them is the environmentally responsible thing to do.  Most thrift stores, including Goodwill, make sure that damaged or unwanted clothing gets recycled.  In fact, half of the clothing donated ends up recycled.  30% ends up as rags and 20% is processed into fiber for things like furniture stuffing, insulation, etc.  What happens to the other half?  Well, 20% is sold locally, 25% is sold overseas to developing nations, and about 5% is deemed unusable due to mildew.

Clothing Donations

 

2. Change the way you consume. 

With the advent of fast fashion, we are consuming more clothing that ever; 80 billion new pieces a year.  That's 400% more than we did in the 1990's.  Because we are consuming so many clothes, we treat them as disposable goods rather than the durable goods they are (or should be).

We need to drastically change the way we consume clothing.  Buying clothes because they're deeply discounted or because new styles are coming from H&M and Zara weekly is not sustainable, not to mention, good for your wallet. 

That's why Valhalla was founded on the principle of the collective closet.  Instead of each individual owning hundreds of items that are rarely worn, we can share a neighborhood closet of thousands of ever changing items; clothes that have a continuing life instead of being discarded after a couple of wears. The collective closet actually lets you consume more but in an incredibly environmentally sustainable way. 

3. Purchase used clothing. 

Voting with your dollar is one the of the most powerful and easiest way to make a statement about your values.  Consumerism is alive and well in the US and one of the best ways to reduce the waste from this behavior is to buy used when possible and when it comes to clothes, there are lots of used choices.  Buying used means that you're reducing manufacturing demands - and all that slave labor - and helping keep clothing out of landfills; a double whammy deal!

8 Tampa Area Thrift Stores to Update Your Wardrobe

 Best deals on recycled clothing in Tampa

Best deals on recycled clothing in Tampa

Thrifting can be incredibly rewarding if you’re into treasure hunting and can be even better when you have some insider tips.  Whether you have time during the week or only on the weekend, there are deals to be had!  Go out there and snatch them up!

Wednesdays – Salvation Army

Salvation Army has half price clothes every Wednesday.  If you’re going to make a day of it, start with the one at 13910 N Nebraska, it has the best selection and seems to be bigger than the ones on S Mac Dill and Wesley Chapel.  Arrive at least 15 minutes before they open at 9AM to make sure you get a cart.  If you've still got energy after checking out, check out the other locations.

Thursdays – Sunshine Thrift

Sunshine Thrift does half price clothes days too but not as often as Salvation Army’s once a week.  Each of their three stores has a text code, found on their home page that you can use to receive regular texts which contain coupon codes for half price day which happens once a month at each location.  Make sure you text the code to opt in for the coupons otherwise you won’t be given the discount and they won’t let you text at the checkout to get the code or have a friend share it with you (I know, crazy strict with the rules).  Take a second and send them a text.  The limit is 100 items but unless you've really gone over board, you won't even get a tenth of that.

Again, the key here is to get there early to get a cart.  If you’re going with a friend and they get done early, ask them hold a place in line because it can wrap around the store on these busy days.  Buy them a popcorn for $.25 as a nice thank you. 

A bonus of opting in for coupons is when they have a back stock of certain items, the manager will send a text with a special discount for the day.  You might get a text letting you know that that day all women’s sleeveless shirts are $.50.  Yes, you read that correctly, offers can be as low as $.50!  They usually exclude tags that hang and only include stapled tags.  You don’t have to have be opted in to receive the discount but you’d never know when the deal is in effect as they only do it on an as needed basis.

Saturdays – Hope Thrift Stores

Hope Thrift Store sells their women’s clothes for $1 a piece on the last Saturday of the month.  The only exclusion is the formal dresses which are off to the side of the rest of the dresses so it’s easy to see which ones are excluded.  While their selection might not be as good as Sunshine Thrift or Salvation Army, the crowd is much smaller which can be refreshing and you just can’t beat $1 for a dress or jeans!  You can easily get 90% off thrift store prices at Hope on their $1 days.  At Sunshine and Salvation Army, the average price on half off day is about $4 or so.

Tips

There are many items that are damaged so you must be extra vigilant in inspecting your selections.  I strongly recommend trying everything on before you go home with anything.  You’re more likely to spot an imperfection if you’re trying an item on plus you won't be stuck with something that doesn't fit perfectly.  If you’re skipping this step, try folding each item.  You'd be surprised at how much you can catch doing this exercise.  At least make sure the zippers function, check out the armpits for damage or discoloration, and the hold it up to the light for the infamous grease stains in the chest area.  

Happy Thrifting!