How are our individual choices when shopping secondhand influencing a sustainable future?
Thrift stores are nothing new, but it’s safe to say that secondhand shopping has been continuously adapted into various concepts to cater to a wider audience. You can find an abundance of brands that offer thrift swaps, style box rentals and even upcycled pieces around Singapore! So it's no surprise that we see more shoppers turning to thrift stores to get unique finds at amazing bargains. But did you know that shopping secondhand is one of the easiest ways consumers can work towards a circular economy?
What is a circular economy?
(Credits: Caroline Macdonald)
Most of us are familiar with the concept of buying something and throwing it out once it's deemed ‘unusable’ - we do it with clothes, accessories, appliances, and more (basically everything).
A circular economy is an alternative that aims to reduce waste by recovering resources at the end of a product’s life to channel it back into production. Products can be kept in circulation for longer - ultimately minimising the damage to our environment. Be it through utilising refilleries for your home cleaning products, investing in upcycled products or even just shopping secondhand: these are all different ways we can work towards a circular economy.
When you shop preloved goods, you play a part in extending the lifecycle of items that could’ve ended up in a landfill way before it has been properly utilised. Manufacturing of garments especially require large amounts of energy and natural resources, so your secondhand purchase minimises the need for these environmentally strenuous processes. Additionally, more manufacturers will see the need to invest in designing products that are less damaging to our environment in the long run.
How can you shop secondhand responsibly?
1. Know what you need 📝
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of options you can get while thrifting - so you must enter with a game plan! Overbuying is also a very real problem that can result in more waste generated than you hoped to reduce. So be sure to do up a list to have an idea of what you need and you’ll know where to start once you're there.
2. Check for wear and tear 👔
Preloved goods are more likely to have defects as compared to what you’d find in a retail store. For clothing, look out for high quality materials such as 100% cotton, linen and wool. For appliances and homeware, ensure there aren’t any missing parts or cracks.
This doesn't mean that all well loved goods are no longer functional! Just be sure to assess the condition of these items before your purchase to save yourself time (and money) in the future - since you won’t have to worry about throwing them out as soon as you get them 😉
3. Think outside of the box 💝
Some shoppers stay away from thrifting due to concerns about sizing and modernity, but the beauty in shopping secondhand goods is that they’ve got the most potential for upcycling. You can choose from a variety of fabrics to make yourself a new outfit or even repurpose homeware finds into unique decor pieces - the possibilities are endless!
If you need a little more guidance, take a look at local brand ALT.NATIVE to learn more about how your thrift finds can be upcycled by talented Refashioners!
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Need some help? Get started with an already curated selection with Thryft!
Snag @ Second Story by Thryft will be joining The Social Space’s Duo Galleria outlet from July to September 2023 - and they’re more than happy to be a part of your thrifting journey!
This $3 concept store is everything you’re looking for in a thrift store: it’s affordable, high quality, and well curated to give you the optimal thrifting experience. And just when you thought it couldn't get any better - with every purchase, $0.50 will be donated to charity!
Snag @ Second Story brings in over 2,000+ pieces of secondhand clothing from Japan and preloved books that are categorised meticulously. Be it nostalgic local series like Singapore True Ghost Stories or eye-opening biographies like Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live - there’s definitely something for everyone here.
Grab a warm cuppa from us while you sift through the generous options at Snag @ Second Story ☕️ See you here!
Written by Insyirah, Retail & Marketing Intern 2023