The ThredUP Fashion Footprint Calculator Helps You Determine How Bad Your Shopping Habit Is For the Environment

Published on January 15, 2020

Here’s a hard to swallow pill: fast fashion is ruining the environment. Brands like H&M, Forever 21, Missguided, Uniqlo, Primark, and Fashion Nova may do a great job at providing the hottest styles at low prices, but the harsh reality is that the products are contributing to waste problems, unfair wages in undeveloped nations, and out of control carbon emissions. ThredUP wants to help combat that by educating consumers on smart shopping.

To help raise awareness of fashion’s impact on the environment, thredUP recently released a fashion footprint calculator to help consumers identify which aspects of their closet have the biggest impact on the environment.

Using The Fashion Footprint Calculator

The online secondhand retailer released the calculator to help consumers learn about the different ways that their habits leave a carbon footprint. They’re not here to make you feel ashamed for your habits, but if you learn something along the way and are open to advice on how to offset your carbon footprint with some simple hacks (like renting your work wardrobe or buying secondhand vs. new), they’re happy to be of assistance.

Using the thredUP fashion footprint calculator, you’re taken through a short questionnaire that asks about every aspect of your wardrobe from how and where you buy your clothes to how often you wash them. Along the way the quiz gives you quick facts to help provide context into why it’s asking these questions.

One question about whether or not you buy your clothing more frequently online than in-store points out that online shopping creates less of a carbon footprint than shopping in-store (I would have expected the opposite).

Another question about buying clothing new vs. used reveals that new clothing production emits as much as four million metric tons of carbon emissions into the air per year. That number translates to roughly 8% of annual greenhouse gas emissions—and that’s just for production, not shipping and transportation of those goods.

Other calculators let you calculate how your meat consumption impacts the environment.

ThredUP’s fashion footprint calculator isn’t the only resource available to help you figure out what your carbon footprint looks like. This calculator from The Omni Calculator Project was created to help you figure out how your meat consumption impacts the world.

The calculator also provides context to your results to help make sense of the numbers. A person that eats chicken or poultry and no other meat one time per week will leave a footprint of about 8.1 pounds of CO2 emissions per month—about the same as charging 473 smartphones or driving 9.2 miles in a passenger car. Plus, it requires 2.7 pounds of animal feed and roughly 428 gallons of water to produce that single serving of poultry. Imagine what a meat-heavy diet would look like.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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