Written by Mutiat Akamo

Since 1970, Earth Day has been an annual event held on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. On this Earth Day, it is estimated that over one million people around the globe are participating in events aimed at changing human behaviour and policies on a global, national, and local scale. This year’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet”, and supporting charity shops is a great way of doing so for the four reasons outlined below. 

Reduces Landfill Waste 

In 2018, around 350,000 tonnes of textiles and shoes ended up in UK landfills. This staggering figure would have almost doubled if not for UK charity retail saving 339,000 tonnes of clothing from the same fate in 2018/19. This reduction in landfill waste also has a positive impact on the UK’s carbon footprint.  

Promotes Reusing and Recycling 

With it being etiquette to only donate clean and functional items to charity shops, most of their stock is still in good condition. Therefore, charity shops provide donated clothes, books, furniture, and other household items with another chance to benefit someone’s life.  

In instances where finding new homes for items becomes a struggle, charities recycle them if possible. Over 90 of textiles are recycled which means that, even if donated items are not sold, it is unlikely that they will help populate a landfill. 

Encourages Upcycling  

Many charity retailers reinvigorate abandoned, discarded, or old items into new and unique products, and you can do the same! Whether it is creating a co-ord from linen bedsheets, or giving a cabinet a coat of paint, you can revamp your charity shop purchases to suit your tastes. Through this fun, budget-friendly alternative to throwaway culture, we can help facilitate a more sustainable future.  

Slows Down Fast Fashion 

The fast fashion industry has an overwhelmingly detrimental impact on the environment; it is the second largest consumer of water and is responsible for almost 10% of global carbon emissions. With fast fashion brands constantly setting and reaffirming new trends via their stock and marketing campaigns, they have formed a commerce model that is both unsustainable for our finances and planet.  

Shopping in charity shops reduces the demand of mainstream shops and, as a result, slows down their production rates. As the charity retail sector is built around affordability and sustainability, it enables us to purchase clothes that we love at a fraction of the cost.  

If you need inspiration of where to go charity shopping this Earth Day and beyond, locate The Charity Shop Gift Card’s participating charity shops near you!