ASDA has today announced that it will start selling second hand clothing in 50 UK stores.
That’s very good news for the environment. The clothing industry is one of the most polluting and environmentally damaging there is, accounting for an estimated 10% of all carbon emissions globally: more than all international flights and shipping combined. While it’s now possible to buy clothes that are produced in a more environmentally conscious way, there’s no avoiding the reality that the sheer volume of clothing that’s now produced is utterly unsustainable.
Addressing the problem requires fewer new garments to be produced annually. Every time we choose preloved instead of new we’re cutting down on carbon emissions, freshwater use and toxic chemicals that are all used in enormous quantities in clothing production. One very good strategy for achieving this is to make secondhand clothing increasingly accessible, socially acceptable and convenient.
Having preloved clothes in ASDA will make secondhand more accessible. ASDA have more than 18 million customers weekly (wow!), so that’s potentially a huge new audience for secondhand. The perception of preloved has come a long way, but some people, still think of it as ‘dingy, old, and used’. A major retailer like ASDA embracing secondhand should help to normalise the idea of buying used clothing among demographics that may not have got on board yet.
As this graphic from WRAP shows, between 2012 and 2016, some carbon was saved by re-use and recycling, but this was far outweighed by the CO2 generated by the manufacture of new clothes. So, great news that ASDA will be making those re-use numbers grow.
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#sustainablefashion #thriftedfashion #preloved