Published: March 10, 2022 By

Are you bored with your closet? Do you want to purchase new clothing but can’t afford ethically/sustainably made clothing? Don’t turn to fast-fashion brands like Shein for a cheap low-quality fashion fix. Buy second-hand! It’s cheap, sustainable, and keeps donated clothing out of the landfill.

Addressing Some Ethical Concerns of Thrifting

“By thrifting, am I taking the opportunity from disinvested communities to buy trendy clothing?”

  • Recycling clothing through thrifting can be ethically responsible if you are sure to buy and donate responsibly. 

    • According to the EPA, 84% of donated clothing ends up in landfills and incinerators. 21 billion pounds of textile waste is going to landfills per year! The more people buying secondhand clothing, the more stay out of the landfill.

  • Give functional clothing to people who need it DIRECTLY! Give the most needed items in your donation box to shelters for those experiencing homelessness.

    •  If you have the following items in your donation box, give to  Boulder Shelter for the Homeless      *Regarding clothing donations: Boulder Shelter for the Homeless accepts bringing these items to The Deacons’ Closet (303-402-6402) where clients have regular access to free clothing and cold winter gear (jackets, boots, and sleeping bags). You can see their wish list and hours for donation drop-off here

      • Linens

        • Bath towels and twin-size cotton blankets

          • NOT able to accept donations of comforters or pillows.

      • Toiletries

      • Travel size toiletries (especially shampoo, bath soap, and body wash) Also useful: disposable razors, shaving cream, Kleenex, Q-tips, ChapStick, combs, lotion, earplugs, and reading glasses

      • Over The Counter Medication

        • Ibuprofen, Tylenol, aspirin (daytime and p.m. types), Benadryl, cough drops/cough syrup/cold & allergy medicine (without alcohol), Pepto-Bismol, vitamins (multi, C, E, fish oil), nasal strips, band-aids, antacids, antibiotic ointment, and aloe

      • Basic  WEARABLE Clothing Items

        • Socks, underwear, and belts

      • Staying Warm

        • Hats & gloves (warm, winter), socks (long, winter), and hand warmers

      • Transportation

        • RTD single-use bus tickets and day passes    


  • Donate other wearable clothes that you no longer wear to thrift stores and give others a chance to enjoy them! 

    • What's trendy to you now may not be trendy to someone else and vice versa!

      • You may purchase something that is unique to your style, size, et Cetra that would end up in a landfill if you weren’t there to purchase it at that moment.  

  • Unwearable clothing/ textiles should be taken to a textile recycling facility. 

  • Many of us cannot afford slow fashion that is sustainably and ethically made. It is more ethical to thrift than it is to purchase poor quality fast fashion that could end up in the landfill due to overproduction donation overflow.

    • Fast fashion is the mass production of cheap, poor quality, and disposable clothing.

      • People in Bangladesh, India, China, Indonesia, and other developing nations are used as a cheap workforce.

        • Exhausting work hours 

        • Unfair payment

        • Alienation

      • An undercover investigation of the fast-fashion company Boohoo revealed its factory workers made as little as $4.40 an hour despite a minimum wage of $11.40 an hour for workers over age 25.

Some things to keep in mind before going thrifting

It’s easy to over-buy due to cheaper prices. Make sure nothing you purchase will end up back in the donation box, and give others the opportunity to buy cool stuff as well!

  • When something catches your eye, think to yourself:

    • Would I purchase this if it were brand new?

    • Do I have things in my closet already that you can wear with this?

    • If I plan to fix something up, do I have the time to do so? 

      • Make time to do it and stick to it!

    • Do I have something like this in my closet already?

    • Will this fit me? (Size, style, etc?)

Secondhand Stores in Boulder!

Extreme Thrifting at the Goodwill Outlet/Bins

  • On a budget budget? Head to Goodwill Outlet World.

    • The Goodwill Outlet is the last stop for clothing before it heads to the landfill. Any unsold items from traditional stores are given one last chance to sell at bargain-priced, by-the-pound rates.

      • Home Goods/Clothing/Textiles under 25 lbs.- $1.39 per pound

      • Home Goods/Clothing/Textiles over 25 lbs. - $.99 per pound

      • Shoes & Purses under 25 lbs. - $1.39 per pound

      • Shoes & Purses over 25 lbs. - $.99 per pound

      • Electronics - $0.69 per pound

      • Glassware - $0.69 per pound

  • Shopping Safely

    • Clothes here are unwashed. 

      • Wear gloves and a mask when shopping

      • Wash all clothing before wearing it.

Happy Thrifting Zero Waste Warriors!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finding the perfect pair of jeans; especially when they are under ten dollars and could have otherwise ended up in the landfill. 

Be sure to tag @cuzerowaste if you have Instagram Pics in your thrifted fits!