The Sum looks at the impact of donations at thrift stores

Experts warn that saving is not a silver bullet to a bigger problem.

Experts warn that saving is not a silver bullet to a larger problem.

Thrifting has become an increasingly popular way of buying and disposing of clothes and has been touted as a more economical and sustainable option. However, the truth is more complicated than that. The sum looks closer.

To sum up

  • The rise of fast fashion means brands are producing more clothes than ever before. The problem? Most items end up in landfills.
  • Donating clothes to thrift stores has become a popular solution rather than just throwing clothes away.

  • However, experts warn that saving is not a silver bullet to the larger problem.

The background

  • In 2018, the world produced 17 million textiles, up from just 2 million half a century earlier. That’s a lot of clothes and trash!

  • Savings has become especially popular with Gen Z. In 2019, 40% of Gen Zers said they bought second-hand clothes.

  • However, many of the clothes donated to thrift stores end up being thrown away anyway.
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A few tips to avoid waste.

What is happening

  • Clothing disposal sites are popping up in poorer parts of the United States as well as low-income countries around the world.

  • Scientists warn that overproduction and carbon emissions from the fashion industry contribute significantly to climate change.
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What is your savings story?

why is it important

  • The continued increase in clothing consumption could further accelerate climate change.

  • Overconsumption can impact financial markets and lead to problems such as inflation.



The Sum breaks down complex economic issues and their impact on your life in minutes a day. Follow on Instagram for the full story.

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