Shopping Sustainably on a Budget

Documentaries such as Stacey Dooley’s ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ have recently revealed the environmental impact of our fast fashion lifestyles. This includes usage of water, materials and carbon emissions.

According to the New York Times, ‘In 2015, the last year for which the Environmental Protection Agency has data, the United States generated 11.9 million tons — or about 75 pounds per person — of textile waste, most of which ended up in landfills.’ 

As a student it can be hard to shop for quality, with many tempted by cheaper websites such as Misguided, Boohoo and PrettyLittleThing for going-out clothing and social outfits.

I’ve put together a list of helpful tips to help and encourage you to shop more sustainably, while on a budget.

Don’t be put off buying second-hand 

There are a number of options available to you when it comes to buying second-hand. Sites such as eBay or Depop are perfect and allow you to search for the brands you love at affordable prices, all while feeling guilty-free.

While it can take a while, sifting through options at charity shops is definitely worth it. Not only can you pick up some amazing bargains, but you’re not buying newly-sourced materials. York has an amazing number and variety of charity shops, so there’s no chance of not finding something you like!

The same also applies for Halloween, social and Christmas costumes. Although some items are new, eBay offers a wide range of sellers wanting to pass on their old looks. Simply use the filters when searching to look for ‘used’ items. 

In addition, you can share your clothes as well as borrow from friends. 

When you do buy, look for quality and durability

If you do buy new, look for quality and durability in your item. There are simple tests such as ‘is the clothing see-through?’, or ‘are the stitchings strong?’ Ensuring that your choice passes these tests will mean that come next season, you won’t have to replace it. 

Also make sure you like the item, as well as how it feels, enough to wear it often.

Quality doesn’t always equal more expense, however, such items do sometimes cost a little more. This is where charity shops and second-hand options are an important asset. 

For more information on how to look for quality in clothing click here.

Try to avoid plastic in your clothes

Some clothes materials contain polyester, which is essentially plastic. This means that every time you wish this item, micro-plastics are washed into waterways and eventually the sea.

Just remember these three simple steps

  1. Reduce the amount of clothes you buy. 
  2. Don’t be afraid to Reuse outfits or borrow from friends.
  3. Recycle once your item has either worn out or no longer has a place in your wardrobe, ensure you dispose of it responsibly in clothes banks, charity shops or sell it on Depop or Ebay.