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What Are the Top Environmental Challenges Resale Franchise Owners Can Help Overcome?

Consumers have become increasingly aware of the impact that their buying choices make on the environment – making it crucial for companies to step up and work to modify their impact to create positive change in their industry.

Winmark’s family of resale franchise brands has been able to promote positive environmental impact since Play It Again Sports® debuted in 1988, and haven’t stopped evolving our sustainability initiatives through our five franchise companies under the Winmark umbrella.

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Thanks to resale companies like those within the Winmark brand, both consumers and franchisees have the opportunity to make a difference within their communities as our world continues to combat these issues.

Here are some of the major environmental issues we face that resale businesses help combat:

Air Pollution

The fashion industry produces 10 percent of carbon emissions put into the atmosphere – that’s more emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

The fast-fashion market has taken an extreme toll on the environment. To keep up with the constant need for buying the latest fashions, fast fashion brands have produced items that are cheaply made and are usually manmade fibers. Many of these items of clothing consist of polyester, and the production of polyester releases two to three times more carbon emissions than cotton.

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Not only are these man-made fabrics contributing to our air pollution, but their production is incredibly energy-intensive in comparison to natural fibers since many synthetic fibers are made from fossil fuel. These synthetic fibers also emit gases like nitric oxide, which is 300 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

However, thanks to resale retailers like Style Encore®, Plato’s Closet® and Once Upon A Child®, clothing items can experience a longer life while giving local consumers the ability to buy gently used, on-trend clothing a fraction of the retail price.

Water Consumption and Pollution

Not only does the fashion industry negatively impact air quality, it also is the second-largest consumer of water worldwide. To produce a single cotton shirt, it takes approximately 700 gallons of water – that’s enough for one person to drink at least eight cups a day throughout three and a half years.

Furthermore, textile dyeing is the world’s second-largest polluter of water, since the leftovers from the dyeing process are often dumped into ditches, streams or rivers. The dyeing process alone uses enough water to fill two million Olympic-sized swimming pools a year – making the fashion industry accountable for 20 percent of all industrial water pollution worldwide.

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By buying gently used, high-quality items from resale shops, consumers can help reduce their environmental impact. Their decision to shop resale instead of buying something brand new that contributes to the pollution of our water helps keep communities near fashion production sites stay healthy and continue to access a clean water supply.

Waste Accumulation

Fast fashion’s increase in popularity has led to cheap items being produced that don’t last as long as their higher-quality counterparts. Fast fashion appeals to a wide demographic, thanks to its cheap production and materials making it more affordable. However, the quality of these items means they’re likely to be tossed out – just to be replaced with something just as cheap.

Overall, up to 85 percent of all textiles go into landfills each year – enough to fill the Sydney Harbor on an annual basis. Only 15 percent of these textiles are recycled or donated – leaving the rest to be tossed in a landfill or incinerated. Furthermore, those textiles made of synthetic fibers are non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose.

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When local consumers decide to take their textile items to a resale shop, they do their part to cut down on their contributions to the ever-growing piles of fashion waste in landfills all over the world. Resale stores help prolong the lifetime of garments and act as a barrier between consumers and contributing to future irreversible environmental damage.

While these problems aren’t going to disappear overnight, resale shops play a dual role in the life cycle of a garment and can boost their economic value within the community and spread the wealth of buying gently used, high-quality products at a discounted price compared to cheaply produced products.

If you’re interested in learning more about a franchise opportunity built around sustainability, get started by downloading any of our franchise reports.