How Buying Second-Hand Supports Earth Day

Tara Dickinson
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Celebrating Earth Day All Year Long: Choose Used


How It All Began

In 1970, a junior senator was moved to take action on human related environmental catastrophes. To reach the college community, April 22 was chosen (the day fell between Spring Break and final exams). Naming the movement “Earth Day” sparked media attention across the country. This first Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans, 10% of the total population, to demonstrate against the impacts of industrial development which were causing serious human health impacts.


1970 - Earth Day achieved a rare political alignment between both parties and all types of communities across the nation. This day led to:

·       The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency

·       The passage of the first of their kind environmental laws

·       The National Environmental Education Act

·       The Occupational Safety and Health Act

·       The Clean Air Act

·       The Clean Water Act. 

·       The Endangered Species Act


These laws have protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.


1990 - Earth Day went global, with 5,000 environmental groups joining, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries, and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.


2000 - Earth Day leveraged the power of the Internet to organize activists around the world, engaging more than 1 billion people every year since.


Present - Earth Day has become a major stepping stone in the protection of the planet, and a day of action to change human behavior, and create global, national and local policy changes.



Earth Day

Buying Second Hand Is a Major Action Step

We’re going to focus on an action step that is not discussed as frequently as other sustainable measures. With the vast availability of all types of products in second-hand markets, there is almost no excuse to buy new. From automobiles, to electronics of all types, to large appliances, home furnishings, art, books, clothing and anything else in good working order and high quality are all ready for you in various used markets around the nation. Gently used, massively discounted; talk about a money saver!


Buying second hand is hugely beneficial to the environment. We don’t hear this as often as other green actions one can take, but purchasing second hand has a far greater impact than recycling or using energy-efficient products. Also buying used products as gifts is a constructive way to share your values with your loved ones, making gift-giving more meaningful.


How Does It Help?


Saves Resources

Every time something is thrown away, natural resources will now be called upon to make a new version of that product (smart phone, computer, refrigerator, dress, etc.). By simply thinking of purchasing used FIRST, you are helping to reduce the raw materials and energy needed to make a new shirt, mattress, golf set. More than enough items are in existence; there really is no reason to buy new!

Decreases Pollution & Garbage

Looking at the bigger picture, even though you've gotten an energy efficient or electric car, consider all the pollution and waste that is produced in the production process of a new car. An example of the enormous amount of waste created when manufacturing raw materials is the cotton industry. The mass production of raw materials, such as cotton, has a tremendous negative impact on soil erosion and water contamination. Did you know it takes 5,000 gallons of water to grow cotton for a one t-shirt? That is astounding! Let’s look deeper into this…


We’ve been discussing Earth Day and how to live in the sustainable mindset all year long. One really important move you can take is to become aware of how destructive fashion is to the environment. Inexpensive clothing, called ‘fast fashion’, manufactures 32 BILLION articles of clothing for just the United States each year.

32 BILLION items. That’s just the U.S.


And, unfortunately, 64% of those items end up in the garbage, which causes methane gas emissions which in turn destroys the ozone layer (i.e. global warming, i.e. weather related catastrophes).


Choose Used

Buying second hand is an easy solution to lowering your own carbon footprint and moving the industry towards making a sustainable future for fashion, which at the current rate it is not. Studies from Green Story, Inc., have shown that if all 328 million US residents bought just one second hand item in place of a new one, in one year we could save almost six billion pounds of carbon emissions. That is equivalent to removing 500,000 thousand cars from the roads for a year. Those numbers are a little optimistic and overreaching, but you get the idea. Thinking about your clothing choices is a big step you can take in the sustainable movement.


For local businesses that were started with a mission of sustainability and eco-consciousness, The Local Flea shines bright. Located in the Bay Area and cities of Phoenix, The Local Fleas are more than just consignment stores: every purchase contributes to their mission of sustainability. And talking about fashion, look at these gorgeous selections!


When it comes to helping the planet, consuming less and reusing products we already have are some of the best things we can do.


Happy Earth Day! Keep it green. 🌱



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