1. If every consumer this year bought just 1 second hand garment instead of a new one, it would lower CO2 emissions by more than 5.7 billion, equal to taking 76 million cars off the road for a day, and save some 25 billion gallons of water, equivalent to filling the Bellagio fountain 11,140 times, and 11 billion kilowatt-hours of energy, equivalent to lighting the Eiffel Tower for 141 years. 


2. According to the American Apparel Association, “each person that buys second-hand clothing can prevent more than 500 lbs of CO2 every year, reducing one’s water, waste, and carbon footprint by more than 80%.” 


3. Circular fashion helps keep clothing out of landfills. Americans threw more than 21 billion lbs of clothing and other textiles into landfills in 2015, according to the latest available estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency, a steep increase from 12.5 billion lbs in 2000 and 4.6 billion lbs in 1980. Only 15% was recycled. Buying second-hand clothing can increase the lifespan of clothes, decreasing the chances for them to end up in landfills.


4. Fashion from reclaimed materials helps reduce water and energy usage. The global fashion industry used some 21 trillion gallons of water in 2015 alone, according to a 2017 report by Global Fashion Agenda. 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce 1 kilogram of cotton (an important raw material). However, “reuse and recycling over 100,000 tons of used textiles saves 70 million cubic meters of water.” 


5. Reusing dead-stock fabric, upcycling vintage, or reselling clothing minimizes hazardous materials. A report by Global Fashion Agenda concludes that cotton farming consumes 16% of all insecticides, 4% of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, and 7% of all herbicides worldwide. These chemicals pollute water and contaminate lands, further harming the ecosystem. 


6. The production of 1 kilogram of cotton used in the apparel and textile industry for garment manufacturing requires up to 3 kilograms of chemicals. These chemicals contaminate large areas of land, having a disastrous impact on ecosystems and the health of workers and communities. Rather than creating new fabrics and building upon this issue, we can help by buying secondhand clothing or using the tons of fabric already made, which is readily available in dead-stock warehouses around the US.


7. A 2017 study in the “Journal of Cleaner Production” conducted life-cycle assessments on a cotton T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a polyester dress. It found that quadrupling the average life span of these items resulted in 75% savings in freshwater used for dyeing and other processes. 


8. Extending the average life of clothes by just 3 months of active use per item would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each item’s carbon, water and waste footprints,” says Sonali Diddi, a design and textile researcher at Colorado State University. Just by wearing the clothes we already own for a significant amount of time, or reselling to another user who will give it another lifespan, we can help improve fashion's waste and carbon emissions issues.


9. A 2016 report commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers found that the reuse and recycling of textiles that are made in and exported from Nordic countries saves the equivalent of 425 million lbs of CO2 annually, along with 19 billion gallons of water. That is equivalent to the CO2 expelled by around 42,000 cars each year and the annual water usage of about 174,000 American households, according to U.S. government estimates.


10. In a study carried out by Green Story, a dress purchased second hand saves 21.4 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions. A handbag reportedly spares even more with 267 lbs of carbon emissions savings compared to buying new.


11. On average consumers wear clothes 36% fewer times than they did 15 years ago. If the number of times a garment is worn were doubled on average, greenhouse gas emissions would be 44% lower. Globally, customers miss out on up to $460 billion each year by throwing away clothes that they could continue to wear.


12. Secondary Materials and Recycling Textiles [SMART] cite that up to 95% of the textiles that go to landfill each year could be reused. This is alarming when you consider that just 1 t-shirt generates 7 kilograms of CO2 to produce. By investing in timeless pieces, elongating their active use time in your wardrobe, reselling, and buying only secondhand or garments from reclaimed materials, you help these textiles continue their lifespan and avoid the landfill.


13. The biggest share of the emissions tied to apparel comes from textile production at 41%, which we can help by shopping secondhand and garments from reclaimed materials. The second largest source is from consumption, which largely comes down to the energy associated with washing and drying. To minimize this footprint, wash using cooler water and line-dry your items, experts recommend.


1. For true recycling to occur, clothing must be collected, sorted and distributed to recyclers. These systems are in their infancy with sorting still being done by hand. While there are innovative technologies that can break down the fabric of used garments to make new clothing, many await business investment to scale their systems to the colossal size necessary. Fully scaled, however, these technologies could drive 80% circularity in the fashion industry.  


2. If retailers produce 1 fewer item for every used item someone buys, it could curb apparel production by nearly 8% by 2027. That is based in part on its finding that, last year, U.S. consumers bought 1.4 billion pre owned apparel items they would previously have bought new, a 40% increase year over year.


3. The 2019 ThredUp Resale report shows that resale has grown 21 times quicker than retail over the past 5 years. In 2018, 56 million women bought second-hand products, up from 44 million in 2017. Clothes must be made to last so they can be worn for many years, resold numerous times, and join the circular fashion loop to help significantly increase clothing utilization.



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