‘Tis the season to be sustainable
Environment, Lifestyle, Sustainability

‘Tis the season to be sustainable

Ground-view shot of a Value Village storefront
Value Village stores have recently gained popularity as people are shifting towards purchasing second-hand and “vintage” clothing. (Amanda McGee/RSJ)

With the holidays approaching, there is an increasing need to practice sustainable living as climate change worsens, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns. 

Consequences of climate change such as global warming, severe droughts, flooding and rising sea levels are all expected to increase, experts said during the virtual IPCC conference in August. 

Many companies have been trying to adapt to eco-friendly ways in order to help limit the impact of climate change. Value Village is just one example of a sustainable company who offers customers the option to purchase or donate used items.

Janet Coakley, who has been a retail manager of Value Village for 25 years, said she has seen the company’s evolution in practicing sustainability. In recent years, the stores have switched from using plastic bags to paper bags.

“This company is dedicated to recycling efforts,” said Coakley. Items are often repurposed, such as re-dying jeans and scrubbing worn out shoes, in order to give them a longer shelf life, she said. 

“As for the clothing not sold in our stores, it still has a life somewhere else,” said Coakley. The unsold items are sorted and then shipped out to different countries, she explained.

Gabriela Mora has been a frequent Value Village customer for over 10 years. “I continue to support Value Village because of their eco-friendly ways,” Mora said. 

“Climate change is a real issue, so if shopping sustainably is something we can do to help slow it down, then I’m all for it,” Mora said.

With the holidays coming up, often people purchase gifts in large amounts that end up being thrown out shortly after.

“I plan on buying gifts that I know are going to last a long time,” said 19-year-old college student Isabella Morrisette. 

Morrisette said she has been trying to practice sustainable living for the past few years. People need to start supporting local stores and avoid shopping with larger unethical companies, she said. 

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While fast fashion is a known contributor to climate change, Morrisette recognized that sometimes it’s the only affordable option people have. In this case, she recommended that people shop at second-hand stores as they do not contribute to the production of clothing and are inexpensive. 

“I think we’re just better informed about the decisions we make regarding the environment and how we impact that with our purchases,” said Coakley. 

“The stigma that was once around second-hand is changing. A gift is a gift.”

November 21, 2021

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