The Growing Trend of Sustainable Secondhand Gifts

If you ask people whether or not it’s appropriate to give a used item as a gift, you’re likely to get strong equally strong opinions: ‘Yes, of course!’ or ‘No way. How tacky.’ 

As recently as ten years ago, most people were in the ‘No way’ camp. Even now, many deem giving a used item as a gift to be poor etiquette. Plus, the giver has a subconscious psychological motivator to appear ‘well off.’ Giving a used gift could imply that the giver can’t afford to do more.

But today, the ‘Yes’ camp is growing as society become more environmentally conscious. The stigma of the ‘poor, tacky’ giver is being replaced with a new badge of honor: Giving used gifts now reflects the giver’s choice to be more socially responsible person.

An Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey revealed these findings:

Consumers will give up perks in order to be environmentally responsible

The trend of 'responsible retail' is expanding as shoppers expressed more concern about the environmental and social impact of their purchases on the planet. Consumers want products that are made in sustainable or ethical ways, and that offer eco-friendly options, such as products that are free of packaging.

Secondhand clothing is becoming a cool gift idea

Many are aware that the textile industry is the second highest most polluting industry behind oil and gas. The growing awareness of fashion waste now makes the idea of giving used clothing not only acceptable, but laudable. Almost half of the research respondents said they would consider giving secondhand clothing as gifts. And more than half said they would welcome gifts of used clothing for themselves.

So if you’re in the ‘No way’ camp, think about the long view: We must purchase fewer new clothes because if we don’t, the fashion industry will never reduce its production. There are millions of beautiful, gently used clothing items that deserve a new home, a longer life and a reduced carbon footprint.

Next time you need to buy a gift, visit a resale shop and take a chance on giving a pre-owned item. Tell your recipient that you care about her, and you care enough about the planet to buy secondhand. I bet she’ll appreciate it way more than you think.

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