Used Items for Sale
Used, unwearable clothing was once used for quilts, rags, rugs, bandages, and many other household uses. It could also be recycled into paper. Today, used clothing is usually thrown out or donated to charity. It is also sold to consignment shops, dress agencies and flea markets and in online auctions.
There are many concerns about the life cycle of synthetics, which come primarily from petrochemicals. Unlike natural fibers, their source is not renewable (in less than millions of years) and they are not biodegradable.
A charity shop, thrift shop, thrift store, hospice shop (U.S., Canada), resale shop (when not meaning consignment shop [U.S.]) or op shop (Australia/N.Z.) (from “opportunity shop”) is a retail establishment run by a charitable organization to raise money.
Charity shops are a type of social enterprise. They usually sell mainly second-hand goods donated by members of the public, and are often staffed by volunteers. Because the items for sale were obtained for free, and business costs are low, the items can be sold at very low prices. After costs are paid, all remaining income from the sales is used in accord with the organization’s stated charitable purpose. Costs include purchase and/or depreciation of fixtures (clothing racks, bookshelves, counters, etc.), operating costs (maintenance, municipal service fees, electricity, telephone, limited advertising) and the building lease or mortgage.
Environmentalists may prefer buying second-hand goods as this uses fewer natural resources and would appear do less damage to the environment than by buying new goods would, in part because the goods are usually collected locally. In addition, reusing second-hand items is a form of recycling, and thus reduces the amount of waste going to landfill sites.
Second-hand goods are considered to be quite safe. The South Australian Public Health Directorate says that the health risk of buying used clothing is very low. It explains that washing purchased items in hot water is just one of several ways to eliminate the risk of contracting infectious diseases.
Some charity shops, such as the British Heart Foundation, also sell a range of new goods which may be branded to the charity, or have some connection with the cause the charity supports. Oxfam stores, for example, sell fair trade food and crafts. Other stores may sell new Halloween supplies and decorations where old vintage clothes are popular for use as costumes. Some stores specialise in selling books, music, or bridalwear. Charity shops may receive overstock or obsolete goods from local for-profit businesses; the for-profit businesses benefit by taking a tax write-off and clearing unwanted goods from their store instead of throwing the goods out, which is costly.