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Want to Make a Difference? Say #SecondHandSeptember

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1,800 gallons of water[1]. That’s more than a 100 showers. That’s also the amount of water needed to grow just enough cotton to make 1 pair of jeans[2].

The fashion industry is the 3rd largest polluter in the world. Image|

Remember that itchy little tag that rudely sticks out of your skirt or trousers? Have a quick look at it the next time you do your laundry. Most of them will say polyester- light fabric that never wrinkles, is durable and never loses shape no matter how many times we run it through the washing machine.

Materials like polyester and nylon are called synthetic materials because they are petroleum based and so they naturally shed tiny, almost invisible plastic particles when you wear and wash them. Imagine how many of these pieces of clothing we buy every month?

Now this may be the point where you stop reading for fear that is another guilt tripping, consumer shaming post about responsible shopping and sustainable habits. Being a conscientious citizen should be a priority, but it is not always the most convenient or cost efficient option. Or is it?

Detox for the Soul, the Planet and the Wallet

Bringing back thrift shop magic image|

Oxfam is a world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty. To educate the British public and attempt to change the general perception of spending habits and consumer conscientiousness they introduced a 30-day campaign to encourage shoppers to avoid purchasing new clothes and instead shared with them alternatives such as their high street and digital second hand shops, as well as Wastesaver, their factory in Yorkshire where unsellable clothes from their shops get recycled into other products. Buyers were encouraged to share their shopping experiences along with #SecondHandSeptember. In 2019 the hashtag was used over 50,000 times on Instagram alone[3].

#SecondHandSeptember- How Can I Get Involved?

There are so many reasons why a Second Hand September or rather second hand any time of the year is important. When you make the decision to shop and consume sustainably you’re not only reducing the waste you add to the environment but you also have the power to support and encourage sustainable businesses in your community.

Saree Serendipity: the Pre-Loved Saree Station is a local venture that sells pre-loved (used) sarees and accessories. Image|

The current limitations and restrictions we are facing right now may or may not have a huge impact on our spending habits. Being stuck at home with nowhere to go could be an excellent time however to try your hand at your own version of a #SecondHandSeptember.

Tips for Your Own #SecondHandSeptember:

1. Don’t be afraid to buy secondhand. The last one and half years of fluctuating lockdowns have seen small businesses on the rise. Choose secondhand books and clothing stores. You’ll be surprised at the quality and deals you might discover.

House of Lonali is an award winning Sri Lankan brand that upcycles used textile material into unique clothes and lifestyle products image|

2. Get creative- your heel tore straight through a saree? Ripped your favourite pair of old jeans? Don’t throw it out just yet. A few hours through the sewing machine and you could have new throw pillows for your sofa or a cool denim bag.

Denim Theory: a pair of jeans become a trendy laptop bag

3. Socially distanced swapping- exchange clothes with your family and friends rather than throwing them away.

Not just about looking good: Nue Body Basics repurposes old jars and encourages their customers to join in the effort. image|

4. One Man’s Trash…Rather than throwing out old chutney/ jam bottles and face cream jars speak to your local vendors/ small business that use similar containers for their products and offer to give them your pre used jars. You will be reducing your waste and helping them reduce their production costs at the same time.

5. The New Normal? Buying and wearing second hand has a stigma attached to it. Let’s normalize our efforts to be more conscientious and what we consume and contribute to the planet.

JustGoodness is Sri Lanka’s first zero-waste store with an array of all-natural, chemical-free products image|
Sqrubb is a budget-friendly line of body & home products free of harsh & harmful ingredients. image|

Share your own #SecondHandSeptember experience and encourage those around you to do the same. Let’s make it more than a monthly mantra. Let’s make it a habit.


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