Second-hand clothes spurned in today’s era of disposable duds
Value Village finds 60 per cent of people polled rarely buy used clothes, even though it keeps them out of the landfill
People are buying more new clothes because they’re cheap On average, people living in the Vancouver area toss about 17 pounds of used clothing in the trash each year.
That might not seem like a lot, but it’s the equivalent of 44 T-shirts per person, said Karen Storry, a senior project engineer with Metro Vancouver — and it adds up to about 20,000 metric tons of waste.
A new report released this week by Value Village says, in the era of cheap clothing, people are buying more clothing They re keeping them for less time as fashion fads change quickly and keeping it for less time than they were 15 years ago.
“With changing fashion cycles, trends coming on, and low prices, people seem to be consuming more clothing, and that usually results in more disposal,” said Storry.
Metro Vancouver was considering a ban on textile waste a few years ago, but Storry said it may not be the best approach to dealing with the issue.
Usually when there’s a ban in place, people are charged when they bring too much of that banned item to the landfill, she explained.
“The loads that we would probably end up surcharging would be the people that are trying to reduce apparel waste,” she said.
That would include secondhand stores that bring items they can’t sell, or the leftovers In Vancouver, 20,000 metric tonnes of clothing end up at the landfill each year. from businesses that buy those unwanted items and turn them into rags or insulation. There’s a certain percentage that they can’t do anything with that might be dumped, Storry said.
One answer is finding ways to reuse or extend the life of clothes. Yet, while most people are willing to donate their old clothes, there’s a link in the reuse cycle missing. A lot of people aren’t buying second-hand.
For the Value Village State of Reuse Report, 3,001 people were polled in the U.S. and Canada between March 15 and 22 about their clothing habits. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.7 per cent. Sixty per cent of those polled said they buy second-hand at most once a year.
Second-hand solutions at thestar.com/vancouver