Guide to Sustainable Shopping in Montgomery County

April 1, 2022
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Did you know that it takes 2,000 gallons of water to make a single pair of blue jeans and 713 gallons of water to grow the cotton required for one t-shirt? Textiles can also produce a lot of waste, since they often cannot be recycled. If you’re not into repurposing or upcycling your clothes (check out some ideas here), there are places around the county that will take them as donations. They will accept many gently used items other than clothes, giving you a great way to pass along your items to someone else. Purchasing items from stores or swap groups is an amazing way to both save money and be more sustainable. Read more below! 

Don’t forget to bring your reusable bag with you when you shop in-person! 

Thrift Stores 

Source: Savers

A thrift store sells gently used clothing, furniture, and other household items at a discounted price. The big difference between a thrift store and retail store is that the items for sale at a thrift store aren’t brand new, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t in good condition. Thrift shopping is a way of giving those items new life.

Urban Thrift – Kensington
All proceeds from Urban Thrift support The Arc Montgomery County’s programs.
Accepts and sells nearly new and gently used clothing, jewelry, linens, home furnishings, accessories, electronics, DVDs and more!   

Prevention of Blindness Society Look Again Resale Shop – Kensington
Accepts donations of gently used household items such as antiques, furniture, home decor, collectibles, clothing, books, and other items. 

Salvation Army – Rockville & Gaithersburg
Accepts donations of household appliances, certain automobiles, clothing, furniture, household goods, sporting equipment, and other miscellaneous items. 

Planet Aid Thrift Store – Rockville
You can find a big yellow bin near you to donate here.
Accepts donations of clean clothing, shoes, bedding, towels, curtains, sleeping bags, socks, underwear, and bras. 

Unique Thrift Store – Silver Spring (Veirs Mill Rd. and New Hampshire Ave.)
Donations benefit the Lupus Foundation of America.
Accepts donations of school supplies, electronics, bed and bath items, clothing, shoes, sporting goods, books, games, housewares, small appliances, and small furniture. 

Source: Savers

Uptown Cheapskate – Rockville
Accepts donations of gently used clean, stylish clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for cash on the spot. Anything not accepted can be passed along to local charities or taken back by you 

Goodwill of Greater Washington Retail Store – Rockville (3 locations) & Gaithersburg
Proceeds go to funding employment, free job training, and placement services for people with disabilities and disadvantages.
Accepts donations of used clothing, furniture, housewares, working electronics and many other items. 

Humane Together Thrift and Gift – Rockville
Accepts donations of baby items, baskets, electronics, clothing, craft and décor items, kitchenware, art, games, linens, office supplies, pet items, frames and albums, and tools.
Proceeds go towards the Montgomery County Humane Society to help homeless animals.
Due to overstock, they are not accepting donations of furniture, books, or Christmas items at this time. 

Boomerang’s Consignment Shop – Rockville
Accepts gently used clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Items will be sold and you will receive 50% of the profits. 

Habitat for Humanity Restore – Rockville & Silver Spring
Proceeds from the sales of these items help Habitat’s work in the community, from home construction, to innovation and more.
Accepts small and large donations of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, building materials, and more.

Opportunity Shop – Chevy Chase
Accepts donations of clothing, accessories, baby equipment, art, décor, linens, kitchen items, and household furnishings.
St. John’s sponsors the Opportunity Shop to benefit its community and charities.
Does not accept toys or electronics 

New4You Thrift Boutique – Bethesda
Accepts donations of clothing, books, toys, jewelry, linens, towels, small electronics, furniture (call ahead), home décor, and other household goods.
Non-profit that donates profits to Shepard’s Table of Silver Spring, which assists Montgomery County residents experiencing food insecurity, homelessness, and poverty.
Does not accept most electronics, sporting goods, medical devices, or food. 

Estate Sales 

Shopping at an estate sale keeps items out of landfills! It also benefits those in the community. Find estate sales going on every weekend in the County here. 

Clothing Swap with Neighbors 

A clothing swap with neighbors is a great way to encourage sustainable fashion. Along with a positive environmental impact, you will meet passionate people in your community with similar values! To organize the swap, pick a location, date, and time in collaboration with your community. Spread the word via platforms like email, group texts, and a Facebook event. If you can, set up a changing area and mirrors so that shoppers are more comfortable. Read more about how to organize the event here.  

Buy Nothing Group 

The Buy Nothing Project was founded in 2013 with the mission to build community by connecting people through hyperlocal gifting and reducing the impact on the environment. You can join your local group and post items that you want to give away directly to a community member. You can also comment on other people’s posts and ask to be considered for their item (people will be selected randomly). Those who are taking the item usually pick it up, so donating in this way also saves you a trip to a donation center and you know your item is going to someone who truly wants it! You can find your local group by downloading the app or finding your group on Facebook. 

Online Options 

If you are still looking for more ways to find or sell gently used items, Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, and Craigslist are great options! Another option specifically for clothes is ThredUp, an online consignment and thrift store. If you want to clean out your closet, they will send you a kit to fill with gently used items. Once you send it back to them (it’s free), you can cash out on the items you sell or get shopping credit! 

This blog post was written by Alyssa Bialek, Spring Climate Fellow

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