What is DIY?

DIY is an acronym for Do-It-Yourself. Although it encompasses all activities that you can do yourself, it has become tied with the green movement because it promotes efforts to reduce outsourcing, save energy, and reuse materials you already own.

Is it true that the United States has the largest ecological footprint?

Yes!  Generally, high-income countries have the largest ecological footprint.  The graph below displays the ecological footprint of the world by region.  As you can see, North America has the highest footprint, followed by Europe.

Sometimes, I feel as if all of my green efforts are going to waste because so many people just don't care about the environment.  Is there any evidence to prove that people are starting to lead more sustainable lifestyles?

Yes!  A global Synovate survey conducted in 2007 found that consumers in almost every country are becoming more aware and are more likely to change their behavior regarding sustainability.  The United States had a 23% increase from 2007 to 2008 in the amount of people who said they were more willing to act on environmental concerns.

Which fabrics are the most hazardous to the environment?  I want to try to avoid them when buying and making clothes.

There are many fabrics that are considered non-eco-friendly.  However, perhaps the most over-used, and dangerous one is polyester.  Polyester is the most widely-used man-made fiber.  The use of polyester had nearly doubled in the last 15 years due to manufacture demand.  The process for making polyester is extremely energy-intensive and uses many dangerous chemicals that are known to cause respiratory problems.  If that isn't enough reason to stop buying clothes made of polyester, then I don't know what is!

What happens to all of people's unwanted clothing?

The majority of people's unwanted clothing is disposed of in one of three ways.  The first option is that clothing may be given to a thrift store, which then sells the clothing to other consumers.  The second option is that the clothing will be exported in bulk to a foreign, developing country.  The last option is that the clothing will be mechanically recycled and broken down into its simplest form for manufacture re-use.

Are clothing resale methods such as thrift stores and E-bay becoming more popular?

Yes!  With the popularization of the internet, many people are turning to resale websites such as E-bay to sell unwanted items.  Consignment stores and thrift shops are also becoming increasingly popular, especially in the economic down turn.  In a 2006 America's Research Group survey, 12%-15% of Americans shop at consignment or resale stores.  Also, since the year 2001, The Goodwill has seen a 67% increase in its sales of donated goods.

Recently the word "eco-fashion" has become quite a buzz word.  Can you explain what eco-fashion is?

According to the International Standards Organization, eco-fashion can be defined as, "dentifying the general environmental performance of a product within a product group based on its whole life-cycle in order to contribute to improvements in key environmental measures and to support sustainable consumption patterns".  The ISO is currently in the process of developing a standard system for identifying these garments that can be considered eco-friendly and sustainable.

Where are the best places to thrift in Blacksburg?

Check out our blog for detailed write-ups of each of the three thrift stores in Blacksburg (The YMCA Thrift Store, Goodwill, and Second Time Around).  Our blog is also frequently updated with how-to videos and other content to keep you abreast of the latest thrifting tips and news from our area.

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