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Reduce, Reuse,
Re-Purpose Clothing

By: Emily Fleischmann

Savers, Goodwill, The Salvation Army- these are all popularly visited thrift stores. Each thrift shop has one major common thread: they have all fallen victim to the recent trend in purchase of clothing by young teens. While the teenage population participates in this practice innocently, questions have been posed about the effect of their extensive buying. Aren’t the clothes sold at these thrift stores targeted for those less fortunate, who need a more affordable option? Why should kids wealthy enough to shop at more expensive locations be taking advantage of places not purposed to suit them? The answer to these quarries comes with a deeper dive on what thrifting truly means and involves. 


As one of the most popular thrift oriented nonprofits, Goodwill Industries' goal encapsulates the motive of storefronts established nationwide. Their mission statement reads: “Goodwill® works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.” While this company does intend to aid those with needs, this is just one of their many purposes. As well as providing support, this organization works to bring people and communities together, which is achieved by having a more diverse crowd shop at their locations. 


Furthermore, stereotyping exists regarding purchasing pre-owned clothing. Stigma against thrifting can be fought and hopefully mitigated if more people participate in utilizing thrift stores. These shops are crucial to ensure all people have the clothing, supplies, and goods they need and deserve. This system has been unrightfully labeled offensive to those who depend on thrift shopping. An increase in the amount of people buying from these stores will allow for it to become a normalized action. 


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Despite this benefit, some argue that when the general public engage in thrift shopping, it takes away from those who are truly dependent on this system. However, a shocking statistic may put this criticism to rest. Reader’s Digest, a widely trusted American magazine, reports that the United States Environmental Protection Agency discovered, “While you may donate your old clothing to charity, the truth is, even then, a whopping 84 percent of our clothing ends up in landfills and incinerators…” There are enough items for everybody, as at the end of the day, even after donation, a significant portion of clothes end up trashed and burned. Not only is this wasteful, but this problem contributes to global warming along with high pollution levels. 


In order to reduce atmosphere related issues, unite the community, and lessen stereotyping, partaking in thrifting serves as a solution. Not only should teenagers continue to thrift, but people from all different backgrounds should try thrifting if they have not already. A wider amount of people making use of these stores will ensure positive impacts for our society are implemented quickly. Before your next mall trip, consider purchasing from a thrift store and donating to their movement instead.






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