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Saving lives, saving money, and saving the planet

10 November 2022, Retail

How your purchases contribute to a healthier future

When you visit a Save the Children Op Shop  and purchase second-hand clothes, homewares or toys, you’re contributing to a healthier future for children in more ways than you might think. 

You may already know you’re saving lives; every purchase goes toward our life-saving and life-changing programs both in Australia and overseas.  Thanks to your donations and purchases, children everywhere can look forward to a better future where they are healthy, educated and protected from harm. 

You’re saving items from landfill 

Every purchase at a Save the Children Op Shop saves that item from ending up in landfill. Australia has a strong dependence on landfill as a form of waste management; about 20 million tonnes makes it to tips around the country every year.  

Landfill doesn’t just take up space; all that impacted rubbish creates methane-rich greenhouses gases which can contribute to global warming. 

When water runs through toxic or hazardous waste it can pick up contaminants and becomes leachate, which can contaminate the surrounding land and water.
The more items we can recycle, the more stays out of landfill, making the toxic dumps smaller, and less of a problem for future generations.  

You’re saving water and CO2 

With every item saved from landfill, the impact on other natural resources spared is immense. From water to carbon dioxide, saving our natural resources from creating more disposable items goes a long way. 

For example, growing, manufacturing, transporting and washing cotton uses millions of litres of water. Making just one cotton T-shirt can use 2,700 litres of water – enough water for one person to drink for nearly three years! 

When you consider the clean water shortages across the world – from Cape Town which nearly reached Day 0 or right here in our own backyard as farmers struggle with drought, it’s clear second-hand buys are supporting not just pockets, but the planet too.  

See what a difference you’ve made

Our Op Shops actively track the difference you’re helping make in the world. The Point of Sale system in each of our shops is connected to monitoring the savings we’re making in landfill, water and carbon dioxide, by considering the materials used in each secondhand purchase. 

For example, when you buy a pre-loved pair of jeans for yourself, which is 83% cotton, 7% polyester and 7% synthetic materials, you’re saving 16kg of CO2, 5,455 litres of water, and about 1kg of waste.  

See how much your Op Shop has saved in the interactive map below. 

It just makes cents 

Buying from an Op Shop puts substantially less strain on the environment by keeping great quality items in homes and out of landfill. 

When you buy secondhand and avoid buying new, demand drops. So Earth’s precious resources are saved from becoming cheap, disposable items, and used where they’re needed. 

It adds up to more than cents; because it makes sense. 

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood