Planet Ark News

Opportunity to Shop

Date: 27-Aug-14
Author: Jessica Uechtritz

Lady browsing an op shop event. © Planet Ark

Fashion is speeding up, which has both financial and environmental costs. In Australia we spend around $12 billion on fashion retail purchases each year. So, during National Op Shop Week, we think about how we can reduce these costs.

In the 21st century fashion has sped up to the point that it even has a name - fast fashion. Fast fashion is a form of over-consumption that is fed by demand for the newest ‘on-trend' item, often at an unsustainably cheap cost and produced to wear out quickly.

Even though the financial cost of a particular item can be low, the environmental cost can be quite significant. It takes more than 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton, which equates to about one T-shirt and one pair of jeans. If that T-shirt or jeans is used a few times then discarded, the water that went into making them is also effectively discarded. Have a look at our Crop to Swap - The Journey of Jeans video to see the production process behind an average pair of jeans.

One of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the cost of fashion is to make sure every item gets a long life, which is where op shops come in. A single Smith Family sorting centre in New South Wales sorts over 10,000 tonnes of donated clothing each year. Most of these donations are sent to developing countries while the highest quality items are sold to generate funding for children's charities.

National Op Shop Week

You can get involved in National Op Shop Week in three ways:

  1. Do a spring clean (spring isn't far away) and donate good quality clothes, books and other items,
  2. Volunteer and one of the many charity shops and/or
  3. Do some shopping at an op shop - remember most op shops are charities so use the money they raise to help others.

National Op Shop Week runs from 24th - 31st August and is a joint initiative of the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) and Do Something.

  • Recycling Week
  • Business Recycling
  • recycling Near You
  • Make It Wood
  • Tree Day
  • Cartridges for Planet Ark