How I shop Zero Waste and Ethically (and save money!)

I’ve recently loved shopping secondhand, not only because I feel better about shopping consciously, but because I’ve found adorable fashion staples at a killer price.

The piece I’m featuring today is this classy striped button up blouse from Ralph Lauren. The shirt was found at goodwill and looks like it’s in brand new condition. No stains, rips or tears! I definitely think this piece will last a good while with proper care. The best part of it all? It was only $7.99! The retail price for the same shirt is $69.50, so I literally saved over $60 for the same shirt, just as new.


^ Ralph Lauren Striped Button Up from Goodwill: $7.99


^ Ralph Lauren Striped Button Up from Macy’s: $69.50

GUYS! This is crazy. The exact same shirt – nearly 90% off of the original price. I’m not sacrificing quality, I’m saving money, and I’m not contributing to the dangers of “fast fashion” (see below for more about that).


Goodwill is not the only store you can find great deals at. There are tons of secondhand and thrift shops in every town, not only with great fashion pieces but furniture and household items as well.

If you’re looking for something NEW, there are several ethical brands online and a handful of eco friendly & ethical brands as well.

Here are a few that I enjoy shopping on when I’m looking for some new pieces:

Eco Friendly & Fair Trade Leggings from

Eco Friendly & Fair Trade Lingerie and Active Wear from Naja

Fair Trade Luxury Staples from Everlane

Why I Shop Secondhand & The Dangers of Fast Fashion

When I started getting deeper into my ethical living and zero-waste journey, part of me really didn’t want to give up shopping at my favorite stores. My Victoria’s Secret credit card was the hardest one for me to give up, but it was the first to go. I still watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and follow their Instagram(s), but hey, it’s a start. I’ve slowly made progress to stop buying things from Target and H&M, which is hard because that comprises 98% of my wardrobe, seriously.

So here are a few reasons that I decided to give up shopping at department stores and instead, shop secondhand.

Ethical Labor Practices

Shopping at big corporations makes it extremely difficult to know exactly where your items are coming from; whether the working conditions of the laborers are ethical, or whether they are using environmentally safe practices. The majority of affordable fashion items (as found at stores like H&M and Target) are able to be sold at such cheap prices because the workers who make the clothes aren’t getting paid a living wage, instead the corporations are taking the majority of the profits. Many people work in horrible conditions while working long hours with no breaks, and then get paid hardly enough to eat for the day, or are slaved into the labor with no pay at all. When we buy clothes that are cheap, we are essentially saying “we agree with slavery”. And while I’m sure the majority of us DO NOT agree with slavery, most of us don’t think twice about our purchases and the sourcing, and we aren’t educated on these matters unless we look into it ourselves.

Environmental Friendly Practices

On the environmental side of things, the majority of affordable clothing is made with cheap fabrics, harmful materials, dyes and chemicals. Along with the harmful quality, typically clothes will come with non-recyclable or non-compostable stickers, and are tagged with plastic price tags that can’t be recycled. Then it’s typically wrapped in a big plastic shopping bag (though that’s a quicker solution since you can easily bring your own bag).

Clothing is also another huge contributor of waste that ends up in landfills, so by buying into fashionable trends every season, it just creates a demand for more clothes to be supplied, creating more pollution and clothing waste. Additionally, the amount of pollution that clothing factories create is insane. If you want to check out more about the facts and dangers of fast fashion, visit this post from TreeHugger. 

A Solution

Shopping secondhand is a great way to get around contributing to the harmful cycles of the fashion industry! By shopping secondhand, you’re not adding to the demand of fast fashion, you’re not adding to more pollution being dumped into the air from clothing factories, and you’re not paying for fashion that came from slave labor. You also save a ton of money!

Another solution is to buy new clothes only from fair trade and ethical companies, such as Naja, and Everlane.

Good luck friends & shop fairly 🙂









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