The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the position of ZU Media or APU

The cost of the sustainability movement can hinder some but there is a simple, low-cost way to still make an impact — thrifting. 

Many aspects of the sustainability movement have now become trendy topics. A few years ago, not many people shopped at thrift stores, wanted their pantry to contain only glass jars or even knew that metal straws existed.

However, now with sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s mind and design aesthetic, it is hard to imagine not participating in the fast-growing movement. Yet, if you look at the items for sale that are sustainable, they can cost a fortune! Sustainably-made clothes cost hundreds of dollars, jars for your pantry can cost up to twenty dollars each and just the metal tins that store your lunch can cost thirty dollars or more. 

This would imply that until the cost of sustainability goes down, it is inaccessible to people with less resources. But the environmental concerns remain very real. With the increased intensity of natural disasters, the melting of the polar ice caps and the limited amount of coal and oil resources left on the planet, something must be done — that much is certain. 

So, where does this leave us? If those with less resources can’t afford the items that are good for the environment and the majority of the people who live on the planet fall into that category, how are we supposed to protect environmental interests?

One major way is by shopping second hand. It is a simple solution but not an easy one. It can be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for and sometimes you must take a trip to another store to be successful. 

Though this method certainly does not live up to the convenience of Amazon Prime, it does have other benefits. One of these is cost. Thrift stores sell items at a significantly discounted rate from their retail counterparts. Just last week, my friend found Lululemon yoga pants for twenty dollars!

Another benefit is quality. This is not always the case if an item has been pre-owned. However, it is likely to be built fairly sturdy, at least in comparison to items made by fast fashion brands that only last a few wears or washes. 

Finally, it all comes back around to sustainability. We use so many resources developing, making, transporting, storing and selling items that we eventually throw away in favor of another. If we continue living that way, we will run out of resources or destroy the climate, whichever comes first. 

Thrift stores are a way to prevent those precious resources from going to waste. Why shouldn’t we use an item someone else no longer wants but fits our desired need? It is cheaper, provides better quality items and protects the planet that we all live on.

So the next time you need to pick up a gift or need a shirt for a job interview, try your local thrift store. You might be surprised and find a unique item just for you, and give a little love to the planet too.