Green Josephine

A young woman working towards environmental and financial sustainability.

Second Hand September

Oxfam is running a campaign for the 9th month of the year. They want people to say no to new clothes for 30 days.

I’ve taken the pledge – will you?

Why?

  1. The environment
  2. Your wallet

Money Benefits

Before I get into the environmental impacts, I’m going to talk about the cost savings as that is something 99% of the population will agree with. 

We want to have more money.

If you have a shopping addiction, or need to revamp your wardrobe, or simply enjoy retail therapy – op shops are your answer, my friend. 

They are gold mines of cheap, funky, beautiful, casual, classic, wonderful, one-of-a-kind clothing. 

Now, before I scare away people who don’t like second hand clothes, let me try and address your issues:

Hygiene

  • Draw your line – I won’t purchase underwear or bras from the op shop. Everyone has to decide what lengths they are willing to go to, to be eco friendly. Wearing someone else’s underwear is not one of mine. Sorry. Maybe when I’m better at cleaning and have mastered the reusable nappy, but right now I am not knowledgable enough to feel safe to wear second hand underwear. 
  • Always wash first with powder/detergent you know works and add a little vinegar to the load. Dry in the sun for a whole day to air out.

Damaged Clothing

  • Be realistic about your sewing abilities. I can fix a pocket on a jumper, patch a hole with a patch, alter hems on pants, but I can’t alter a skirt hem or change the look of an item. 
  • Don’t purchase anything you can’t fix or won’t pay to be fixed. 

I Just Don’t Like The Idea Of Wearing Someone Else’s Clothing

  • Small steps. 
  • Try a scarf to begin with. Wash it first, lay it in the sun and the wear it for a day. Work up to other purchases. Think about all the money you are going to save. 

And you will save money

A dress that would cost $30 AUD, I’ve gotten for $8 AUD. Most clothing items are under $10, aside from jackets and formal dresses. 

You can outfit yourself for a bargain and I have found this invaluable while trying to work out my style. 

Now for the environmental aspect…

 

Throwaway society

Unfortunately, this is the reality we are living in. Items aren’t made to last because of planned obsolescence. It’s a marketing feature of nearly every company that produces goods. They make items with materials that don’t last as long for the purpose of them breaking soon. The consumer then needs to buy more.

Depending on your point of view this could be a good or bad thing. 

Technology is developing everyday and something that lasts ten years won’t have the latest technology. Items are also generally cheaper, making it easier for everybody to afford. More jobs are required to continue meeting the demand of consumers. 

However, everything that breaks, must get thrown away. Most items aren’t recyclable or there is no program to recycle available, and rarely are they compostable. 

It is my opinion that we are filling up our world with stuff that we’ve thrown away and this behaviour is breeding more throwaway behaviour. 

We’re tossing out older phone models that are working perfectly fine because we want the latest model. Telstra has a plan with a feature called New Phone Feeling. Each year they receive a new phone (which also costs more than purchasing a phone outright and using for many years because you are essentially renting to phone off Telstra with that plan). 

We throwaway clothes with small rips and stains. 

We use plastic plates because it’s easier than washing up after functions. 

We are lazy and use things for convenience. 

This behaviour has to stop and op shopping makes it so EASY. It’s not like you have to change your routine a great deal. You don’t have to wash the plates instead of throwing them out. 

You would still go shopping for clothing, but instead of going to Target, you’ll go to Vinnies. You’ll go to an op shop or a thrift store instead of a designer store. You might even be lucky enough to get designer items for a fraction of the cost 😉 

What are you some of your favourite op shop finds?

Are you going to join me?

At the end of the month, I’m planning on posting an op shop haul of all the items I purchased at the op shop or second hand in the month of September. 

Here’s the link to the Oxfam pledge. Good luck! Let me know if you sign it!

 

greenjosephine

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