Shopping secondhand can help the environment too

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PHOENIX - Two quadrillion. That’s the number two followed by fifteen zeros and according to, it’s also how many pounds of clothing Americans throw away each year. Fortunately, not all of these discarded pieces end up in a land fill.

Although many environmental activists focus on issues like alternative fuel and saving the whales, buying secondhand clothing can do as much for the environment as trading your SUV for a Prius or wearing hemp underwear. There are plenty of stores around the Valley that find the treasure in other peoples’ trash and can help anyone be an environmentally-friendly frugalista!

Though shops like Goodwill have a little bit of everything, if it’s primarily clothes you’re after there are dozens of stores that take a more boutique-style approach to consignment shopping. One of the most popular destinations for this setup is Buffalo Exchange thanks to their bargains on brands you would find at the mall like H&M or Armani Exchange. However, if you like the idea of your retail-therapy session helping others, shops like Flo’s on 7th support local charities such as Florence Crittenton, which aims to help develop leadership skills in young girls.

For stylistas who have been swept off their feet by the retro-chic styles gracing the covers of Vanity Fair and Vogue, second-hand stores should be your go-to hot spots! Because the thought of rummaging through an average consignment store on the hunt for an 80’s prom dress that could pass for a metallic loofah doesn’t sound appealing to everyone, some boutiques help you out by modernizing these outdated pieces ahead of time. Butter Toast Boutique for example, alters clothing into outfits that are socially acceptable without losing the vintage integrity that makes them unique.

Between the weed-like growth of their child and diaper leakage, it doesn’t take most moms long to realize those adorable onesies they got as baby shower gifts have about a two-week shelf life. Because it can seem like children’s clothes often become as disposable as a dirty diaper, why not save a few dollars and shop second hand? Release yourself from the guilt of throwing out that poop-smeared jumper by getting clothes, furniture and toys a fraction of the retail cost at stores like AZ Kidz n’ More.

If you’re looking for even more options close to you, check out this vintage clothing directory where they organize consignment shops by city so you’re bound to find one nearby!