Green Corner: Thrift shopping helps your wallet and the environment

With the holidays coming and going, everyone’s closets are restocked with new additions gifted from family and friends, but does anyone think about the environmental impacts that come with those new shoes, shirts and pants? In this month’s green film, RiverBlue, filmmakers expose the not-so-eco-friendly aspects of the fashion industry.

The fashion business is the world’s most pollutive industry through the use of harsh chemical manufacturing processes, the irresponsible disposal of toxic chemical waste and the recurring “fast fashion” trend. Fast fashion is a term used by retailers and designers to describe a widely implemented phenomenon and business model: when companies imitate styles and trends seen on the runways and recreate them at a much lower price and quality to sell to the mass market.

Articles of clothing that fall under the fast fashion trend are not durable. The motto of these designs is “wear and tear quickly,” which is not only harmful to the environment, but to our wallets too.

To combat fast fashion and the harm it has on the environment, buyers have turned to slow fashion. Slow fashion is designing, creating and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints and zero waste. But for most Rider students, this business model doesn’t bode well for their budget, so how does one avoid the cheap pit that is fast fashion? Thrift shopping has quickly become a popular solution to this growing problem, and Rider students are thriving. Environmental science major Joseph Warker said, “Thrift shopping is fun, affordable and you can do it with friends.”

Even if you are not a fan of buying and wearing used clothing, donate your unwanted clothing to a community recycling bin on Rider’s Lawrenceville campus. According to an article by the Huffington Post, Americans on average will throw away 81 pounds of clothing, coming to a grand total of 26 billion pounds of textiles and cloth that ends up in U.S. landfills each year.

By donating your clothing to a community recycling bin, you are not only reducing the amount of waste you are sending to the landfill, but you are helping communities around the world. There are two collection bins on campus, one behind Moore Hall and the other behind West Village.

Articles of clothing can also be upcycled into various craft projects to reduce waste. Rider’s service club, Circle K International, uses donated T-shirts and blankets. The T-shirts and blankets are cut into fabric strips, braided together and donated to Easel, a Trenton animal shelter, as dog and cat toys.

Rider Circle K’s president Tara Clancy said, “We always have a lot of fun doing this service project. It’s super fun, super easy, eco-friendly and the impact is immediate. Members know that their donated T-shirts and blankets are bringing joy to various animals right away.”

Clothes can also be donated to other organizations. Rider’s Office of Sustainability is hosting a Blue Jeans Go Green recycling denim program during the viewing of RiverBlue, Feb. 13 and 14, in Sweigart 115 starting at 7 p.m.

 Articles of clothing made out of denim are accepted and will be sent to a denim recycling facility, where the denim products will be upcycled into insulation. The insulation is then donated to Habitat for Humanity.

—Lauren Margel

Lawrenceville eco-rep

Printed in the 2/7/18 issue. 

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