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The Cost Of Unsustainable Shopping

April 18, 2022

Did you know that as many as 40% of all clothes bought online are returned to the seller? This creates a massive pollution problem, as these clothes often end up in landfills. The cost of unsustainable shopping is not just environmental; it also takes a toll on our economy and society.In this article, we'll explore the environmental cost of unsustainable shopping and what it means for the future of our planet.

How Does Unsustainable Shopping Impact The Environment?

As online clothes shopping has become more popular, so has the practice of returns. One in three items ordered online is returned, and that number is only expected to increase.

The growing trend of online clothes shopping and returns have a significant impact on the environment. What's more, the average person throws away 37 kg of clothes each year.

The Environmental Cost Of Unsustainable Shopping

With a 95 percent increase in the number of returns when it comes to online shopping, it is no wonder that this practice impacts the environment - and not in a good way.The environmental cost of unsustainable shopping includes:

  • The pollution caused by the production of clothing
  • The pollution caused by shipping clothes back and forth
  • The pollution caused by discarded clothes in landfills

Shopping Strategies For A More Sustainable Wardrobe

With fashion brands producing as many as double the amount of clothes made before the year 2000, there are a few key strategies that you can use to shop more sustainably. These can decrease the cost of unsustainable shopping and help protect our environment.

1. Shop Less Often

No one needs a new outfit for every event they attend. If you shop less often, you can save money and reduce the number of clothes in landfills.

2. Consider Quality Over Quantity

It's better to have a few well-made pieces that will last you for years, than a closet full of cheap, poorly made clothes that will fall apart after a few wears. When buying new clothes, make sure they're from sustainable brands and are high quality.

3. Rent Or Borrow Clothes Instead Of Buying Them

If you only need an outfit for one event, consider renting or borrowing it instead of buying it. This way, you'll save money and reduce the amount of clothing waste.

4. Fix Your Clothes Instead Of Throwing Them Away

If your clothes rip or tear, don't throw them away. You can quickly fix them with a needle and thread or take them to a tailor.

5. Donate Or Sell Your Clothes Instead Of Throwing Them Away

Donate or sell your clothes instead of throwing them away when you're done with your clothes. This way, someone else can use them, and they won't end up in a landfill.

6. Buy From Sustainable Brands

Many sustainable fashion brands use eco-friendly materials and ethical manufacturing practices. When you buy from these brands, you can be sure that your clothing is not contributing to pollution or exploitation.

The Future Of Sustainable Fashion

As the environmental cost of unsustainable shopping becomes more apparent, there is a growing movement toward sustainable fashion.More and more people are becoming aware of their clothing choices' impact on the environment and are looking for ways to shop more sustainably.

As the demand for sustainable fashion grows, we can expect to see more sustainable brands popping up and more sustainable practices adopted by mainstream fashion brands.

What's more, it's becoming easier and cheaper to produce eco-friendly clothing with new technologies. This means we can expect the future of fashion to be more sustainable than ever before.


The environmental cost of unsustainable shopping is high. On the flipside, it also means that sustainable shopping is good (and necessary) for the environment; it's also good for your wallet! So, next time you're looking to update your wardrobe, consider shopping more sustainably - it’ll be a win-win for all parties involved.

Photo by Yaroslava Borz


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