Earth Week 2012 Challenges: Second-Hand Clothes And Products

Day 6: Earth Week Challenge -- Second-Hand Clothing And Products

From April 16-22, HuffPost Green invites you to take on one simple endeavor per day to reduce your impact on the planet. We can't extend a challenge without attempting it ourselves, so our team will tackle each goal as well and share with you the highs and lows of our experience.

CHALLENGE: Second-Hand Clothes And Products. Instead of purchasing new items, reuse and upcycle old items.

Every year, people around the world throw out tons of old clothes to buy brand shiny new ones instead of considering the alternatives. One estimate suggests Americans toss over 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person every year. The next time you're done with an article of clothing, considering donating it to your local shelter or Goodwill. Or have a clothes swap party with your friends -- one man's trash is another man's ... new shirt? Instead of always looking to purchase new articles of clothing, check out some second-hand clothing stores.

The same goes for furniture and accessories -- before dumping your old chairs and tables when you move, look into donating them or go online to see if anyone's looking for what you've got. If you need new furniture, check out thrift shops and go online before buying all new items. You might be surprised what you find!

Sasha: When it comes to home furnishings, I have a number of pieces salvaged from friends and family: an old sideboard from a restaurant that now serves as a bar, a vintage punch bowl from my parents, an old desk from a friend, and a few other items. But my favorite piece is probably the coffee table: an old wooden Parsons table that my mother built and stained some four decades ago. It became the modest dining table in my parents' apartment when they were first married. Then, after I was born, they chopped the legs in half to make it a kids table for me and my friends. And now it serves as a coffee table, displaying all the marks from almost 40 years of use -- including plenty of dings and scratches and little carvings from when I was a kid. Sure, I could refinish it. But why get rid of all those memories?

Becca: I love clothes more than I probably should, but I always feel a special satisfaction when I find a cute item at a vintage shop. So this weekend, when I feel tempted to splurge, I'll take my business to one of the cute, retro consignment shops in Brooklyn. Buying second-hand has much less of a carbon footprint, and I almost always walk out with a unique little gem.

Joanna: The coolest thing about my apartment building is that the windowsill on the second floor stairwell has somehow become the "freebies table" -- anytime someone doesn't want an article of clothing or a piece of furniture, they leave it on the windowsill for anyone else in the building to take. Judge all you want, but I found a pair of red shoes there that (after disinfecting them) are the most comfortable shoes I've ever semi-owned.

Jessica: Today's challenge isn't too difficult at all -- my sweatpants are hand-me-downs, so it was great to just wear them around the house all morning! In the afternoon, I changed into a shirt I got from the thrift store for a walk around the neighborhood with some friends. A bonus for today: I spent the day in my neighborhood, so no transportation pollution for me!

James: Today I wore an old shirt I got from my Dad and some pants that I've had for a long time. I also recently outgrew a pair of pants and passed them on to a friend who gladly accepted them. I won't lie and say I don't like new clothes as much as the next person, but I don't go shopping that often, and only buy stuff I'll actually wear.

How did you do with this #EarthWeekGoal? Tweet us your experience and check out the twitter slideshow below to read about other challenge participant experiences:

Challenge for Sunday:

Sunday: Waste Less Water. Take shorter showers, turn the faucet off while brushing teeth, do only full loads of dishes and laundry.

Check out this photo of Joanna's new/old shoes: