Second Hand Clothes Offset Travel Pollution

You Can Buy Secondhand Clothes As An Alternative To New, But There Aren’t Practical Alternatives To Air Travel, Sadly…

Buying secondhand clothes and goods can offset your air travel footprint. If you look at all of the “made in” labels on your clothing, you will see a range of exotic locales. Bulgaria, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Romania… However, clothing usually travels through several countries before arriving on the shelf. The fiber is sourced or made if it’s synthetic from one country, then it is weaved in another country, then it is dyed, cut, sewn, and finished typically all in different countries. This makes fashion really bad for the environment, it wastes millions of gallons of fresh water, poisons rivers and oceans, and is a major emitter of green house gasses. Not to mention that working conditions are usually not that great for factory workers. In 2013, this factory in Bangladesh collapsed; it was later found that high end brands like United Colors of Beneton had clothing items made there.


  1. Around 20 % of wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing and treatment.

    World Bank

  2. Of the total fiber input used for clothing, 87 % is incinerated or disposed of in a landfill.

    World Bank

  3. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 % of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

    World Bank

  4. Every year the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water — enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people.

    World Bank

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world.


The answer lies in buying secondhand clothes and other items. You can buy almost anything you need on ThredUp, Poshmark, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, or Craiglsist FOR A FRACTION OF THE RETAIL PRICE. I have a guide with discount codes here.

How do second hand clothes offset your air travel pollution? One piece of second hand clothing saves all of the pollution in the transportation and clothing production process. So by buying used, you are able to offset your plane ride and other waste. It’s not just clothes either, if you buy electronics used, you are also saving waste from that production cycle too: mining of the minerals, assembly, packaging, etc… I bought my computer, camera, GoPro, iPad, and more used saving me thousands while also saving the environment. I actually prefer getting a perfectly working item WITHOUT ALL OF THE PACKAGING!

How To Get Rid of Clothes:

  • Suggest a clothing swap with your friends, dorm, office, community, whoever!
  • People not into a clothing swap? Organize a clothing drive with your local homeless shelter.
  • Turn old clothes into rags you can use to clean up around your home.
  • Donate clothing to a local pet shelter or pet foster.
  • Don’t know what to do with that old suit or work dress? Donate it to an organization that helps low income individuals dress for success.
Infographic: Second Hand Clothes Offset Travel Pollution
No more articles