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Shopping at a recycled clothing boutique, and other useful ideas

March 4, 2024

The best recycled clothing boutique is found in London. The most eco friendly way to deal with pre loved designer clothing is shopping secondhand, and avoiding textile waste. And what else can you do to save the earth?


Recycling is a big and complicated subject, isn’t it? What is really the most eco-friendly way to live? Should we buy only natural fibres and avoid those made with petrochemicals? Natural fibres can biodegrade more quickly, but what about the pesticides used in their production? And although “natural fibres” might mean plants such as cotton or linen, it can also mean sheep’s wool or duck feathers. Nobody would want to hurt a duck just to have a fashionable coat. And things like leather, which you might think are the most natural materials, are also treated with so many chemicals that they do not actually biodegrade well at all, they are preserved from it.


Is it better to have a carrier bag made from new plastic, which you can take to the supermarket and have recycled, or to use a cotton tote bag? Cotton takes a lot of resources to grow, and is heavier than plastic. More weight means it takes more energy to transport. Plastic cannot be recycled more than a few times, it’s chemical components become too weak to hold together. That is, if it is recycled at all, however faithfully you drop it off in the right bin.

Buy Secondhand and Save the Planet!

There is probably only one solution where you might feel confident to go out shopping and have little impact – that’s to buy second hand. Avoid the dilemma of production altogether and cut your emissions by walking to the shop, hopping on n electric bike, or taking the tube or train. It’s quite amazing how many destinations can actually be reached by walking, and you can aim for a little further each time. Check to see if the recycled clothing boutique you are aiming for is dog-friendly – and if it is, bring the dog. Build your shopping into your daily walks. And of course, as well as the dog, bring your backpack plus a spare couple of totes.

Try a Refill or Zero Waste Shop

Zero Waste Shop

Anthony Shaw, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons

Lately, I walk into town, head through the park so the dog can romp, and drop into the zero-waste shop to grab some nuts, rice and dog treats. I take all the little paper bags I have knocking around, as they don’t mind which container you decide to use to refill. Usefully, they do allow the dog in, although I admit that it’s not ideal as she attempts to sniff everything. And it can be very hard to hold the lead of a curious dog in one hand while attempting to open the chute of a container of grains, and fill a paper bag while she pulls away, having seen a potential treat dispenser (ie, new human) come into the shop. My dog is very human and treat friendly, you see.


The best option is to ask the person behind the till or my doggy’s new best friend to hold her for one second while I fill all my paper bags. I think this is a nice community feeling. And everybody wins – dog lovers get a cuddle with a friendly little fluff ball, and I get my rice. And my dog and I get a big walk.


Exactly the same can go for clothing. Go shopping and if you want to try something, just take the little hound into the changing room with you. Obviously, if you don’t have a little hound, you can do all this anyway.

Recycled Clothing Boutique – Have You Tried This?

recycled clothing boutique - Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelle Mushrooms
Netherzone, CC BY-SA 4.0

And for food. Of course, the least expensive, most frugal way is to cook for yourself, and particularly, batch cook. Then you can freeze leftover portions and hey presto, find an instant healthy takeaway in your freezer on days you don’t feel like cooking. But also, have you seen the app which lists leftover meals from local restaurants? It will give you a good idea of what type of food you’ll get and you can narrow it down by dietary requirements. But the actual meal depends on what they have left over, unsold, at the end of the day. It’s a surprise! Quite a fun one.


It’s not out of date and they tend to be quite generous. It’s not free, but you pay about a fiver for good quality food that would otherwise go to waste. You can also get fruit and vegetables to make your own meals. In Paris I longed to get a box of 5 kilos of exotic mushrooms for 5 euros that had been grown as part of a community project, in the basement of an abandoned housing estate. Well, even getting them sounded like an adventure and all quite intriguing. But I realised that there was no way for me to eat through quite so many mushrooms during my brief stay.

Recycled Clothing Boutiques – Just Play Around With Ideas

I have not seen such vast quantities where I live, in London, but there are some good options. If you’d like to cut down on plastic and waste in general, it’s great. The app tells you to bring your own bag, but I’ve always arrived to find everything already packed up. But they will put it in a paper bag, so it’s not too bad. Also, see if your favourite places on the app offer their own schemes. One coffee shop told me that they did a goody bag for a pound less, plus a free coffee! So I guess it has given businesses ideas, even though perhaps it’s a bit naughty that they poach customers from them.


Anyway, speaking of ideas, I hope that this has given you some. It’s always fun to find ways to save the earth while not giving up your luxuries. Like coffee, pastries, clothes… and oyster mushrooms.