Carbon footprint and price comparison: Secondhand vs. New Clothing
Today, there is more clothing manufactured than ever before. According to the World Economic Forum, a whopping 87 percent of total fiber input for clothing ends up incinerated or in a landfill.
Textile waste is the responsibility of both consumers and producers, with many global fashion brands destroying unsold product. Instead of contributing to the 2,150 pieces of clothing that are thrown away every second, try buying secondhand.
Buying secondhand is easier and affordable. That’s why we are comparing the carbon footprints and costs of brand new vs. secondhand clothing.
Item: Patch Classic Crew Sweater from PacSun
Carbon Footprint: This item is made of 100% acrylic. Two square meters of acrylic fabric is equivalent to 25.4 lbs of CO2. This makes acrylic 30% more energy intensive than polyester, which is considered a low-ranking material for sustainable clothing. Dyeing, sewing, washing, and transportation also increase the carbon footprint of this item. PacSun does not disclose specific information about its supply chain, but you can find a brand sustainability rating at this link.
Item: 70s 80s Vintage Wool Blend Sweater from Etsy
Carbon Footprint: Etsy promises to offset carbon emissions from shipping and packaging on this purchase, making the carbon footprint of this purchase zero depending on the buyer's disposal methods.
Item: Graphic Tee from Forever 21
Carbon Footprint: One t-shirt is estimated to contribute 6.75 kg or 15 pounds of carbon throughout its production life cycle. On average, the buyer contributes 0.01 kg of CO2 per wear. Depending on how much dye is used, this number could be higher. Check out Forever 21’s sustainability rating Goon on You rating for more information on the brand’s sustainability score.
Item: Zara Graphic Tee from thredUP
Carbon Footprint: The carbon footprint of this purchase only includes shipping emissions, but thredUP works to offset its carbon emissions. 4.9 miles of driving emissions are avoided with this purchase. The carbon footprint of this purchase also depends on the buyer’s disposal methods.
Item: Low-Rise Boyfriend Jeans from Free People
Carbon Footprint: One pair of jeans creates 4-5 times the carbon footprint of one t-shirt. More specifically, it is estimated that 44 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions are expelled when producing one pair of jeans. Dyeing new jeans contributes 0.004 kg of CO2 per wear. Washing and distribution also add to the carbon footprint of jeans Check out Free People’s Good on You Rating here.
Item: Calvin Klein Boyfriend Jeans from thredUP
Carbon Footprint: The carbon footprint of this purchase only includes shipping emissions, but thredUP works to offset its carbon emissions. 18.4 miles of driving emissions are avoided with this purchase. The carbon footprint of this purchase also depends on the buyer’s disposal methods.
Item: White All-Star Slip Converse from Converse
Carbon Footprint: A study by MIT found that the typical pair of running shoes or sneakers produces nearly 30 lbs of carbon emissions. Sneaker production overall contributes nearly one-and-a-half percent of global greenhouse gas emissions as a single industry. Most of this impact occurs during the manufacturing process. Check out Converse good on you rating for more information on their practices.
Item: White Converse from Swap
Carbon Footprint: The carbon footprint of this purchase depends on shipping and the buyer’s disposal methods. Swap does not do express or same-day shipping which conserves emissions and lessens environmental impact. Watch this video by Vox for more information on why you should use no-rush shipping.
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