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Climate Action Newcastle members share info on how they’ve changed for the better.

When we weigh up what the BIGGEST contributors to the climate emergency are, clothing isn’t always the first or second answer. It should be!

  • Our decisions to buy then throw away results in 13 million items in UK landfill. EVERY WEEK!

  • Even worse, simply taking part in the fashion industry means huge quantities of clothes that we don’t buy are dumped in landfill or burned.

  • Global transportation of those vast quantities of clothes – including all the clothes never even worn – all generates carbon emission.

  • The water used to make just one cotton T-shirt and pair of jeans could provide drinking water to one person for 13 years.

Those headlines alone (setting aside other serious issues, such as microfibres, exploited workers) are enough to show that a sustainable planet needs change in our attitudes and behaviour.

Fortunately, increasing awareness is making it easier for us all to make individual changes and feel informed to lobby for policy change. Second Hand September is part of that movement. To mark 2021’s campaign, Climate Action Newcastle looks at what’s available locally to help us and shares member feedback, advice and blogs.


  • Make a pledge to avoid buying new for a month.

  • Or decide you’re going to think twice every time you start to think about buying new.


This list uses this brilliant sustainability graphic, listing how to rank our choices. The top is best!


  • Sign the Second Hand September pledge – or simply commit to avoid spending on clothing for any set period of time. This jolts us to consider other options on this list. It’s great to stop “buying new” being our default option – let’s make it the absolutely final option. Instead, let’s work through these other approaches!

  • Rent or borrow instead of buying - clothes hiring services are a growing trend as well as community led lending and swap shops. See CAN member Mark’s blog for more ideas and local info.


If you no longer need an item of clothing, but it seems good enough quality for further use – ensure it reaches someone else!

  • Newcastle area version of Freecycle is called Freegle It’s a glorious experience to take part, whether donating (with the buzz of avoiding landfill and making someone else happy) or offering to take something.

  • Donate to charity shops – check out our second-hand shop map covering Newcastle and wider area below and read our members tips and second-hand experiences in our blog series. We’d love to hear from you about your additions to the list!

  • Sell online via Gumtree, Ebay and other online services, read more about these on Mark's Blog.

  • Sell to local second-hand clothing shops (usually branded goods) or go to car boot sales.


  • Tailors are climate action miracle workers! From tweaking charity purchases to keeping alive your favourite vintage clothing, they all deserve our support.

  • Develop your own repairing craft skills

  • Repurpose: there are so many great options. Cut into squares for cleaning rags; create your own beeswax wraps (remarkably easy - our guide is coming soon); create rag rugs (or commission other people to do them for you and give as gifts) and much more!


As with most recycling, this is often not the most sustainable approach – resources are needed to recycle and carbon emissions usually produced (such as transport for collection of goods, process of recycling, process to distribute new version, packaging).

  • If companies offer a service of taking back goods to recycle – try to find out the carbon footprint of the process. Ask how this compares with producing a new item. If it’s almost the same, consider avoiding that item.

  • Consider instead whether the materials can be reused or repurposed.


Every item we throw away is another nail in the coffin of tackling climate change.

We hope you enjoy our Second Hand September blog series! Let us know in the comments section what you find most useful and share your own tips for sustainable fashion.

For now, we’ll leave you with a quote from Greta Thunberg who sums it up perfectly:

“Many are making it look as if the fashion industry are starting to take responsibility, by spending fantasy amounts on campaigns where they portray themselves as “sustainable”, “ethical”, “green”, “climate neutral” and “fair”. But let’s be clear: This is almost never anything but pure green washing. You cannot mass produce fashion or consume ”sustainably” as the world is shaped today.”

View the post on Greta's Instagram and add your own thoughts:


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