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Charity shop platform Thriftify wants to help the UK shun fast fashion

Users will be able to buy books, music, games, gifts and accessories via the platform, which boasts partnerships with a plethora of charity retailers

Charity shops are the ultimate place to bag a bargain sustainably and a new online marketplace, Thriftify, is hoping to make this easier by “connecting” well-known retailers with consumers. 

The company, which has just launched in the UK, lets shopaholics browse second-hand products online, meaning they can enjoy some retail therapy and save the planet at the same time. 

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Users can buy books, music, games, gifts and accessories via the platform, which boasts partnerships with stores including Oxfam, St Vincent De Paul, Sue Ryder and Wessex Cancer Trust. 

Bosses of the social enterprise, which was founded in Ireland in 2018, said it is also integrated into eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook Marketplace and Amazon, giving charities “access to millions of shoppers across the world”. 

Announcing the UK launch, founder Rónán Ó Dálaigh said: “Fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil but thankfully, consumers are becoming aware of the damaging effects of ‘fast fashion’ on our planet and are looking for alternatives.

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“Instead of buying new, we can lower our impact significantly by opting for used items, making the most of products already out there and discouraging further unnecessary manufacturing.”

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So-called “fast fashion” outlets have been accused of not abiding by their environmental commitments in pursuit of profits while also using questionable employee practices and supply chains. 

In June 2019, MPs urged the Government to end practices by fashion producers that “trash the environment and exploit workers despite having just committed to net zero emission targets”. 

The Government insisted it would accept the committee’s recommendations, which ranged from mandatory environmental targets for high street giants and tax changes to reward responsible companies. 

Thriftify said that by using the site, shoppers could find “gems” in an eco-friendly way while also supporting good causes.

In 2020, consumers using Thriftify in Ireland saved an estimated 36,700kg of C02 from the atmosphere and 11.9 million litres of water, by buying used clothes and books instead of brand new items, the firm claimed.

Michael Mc Ilwaine, Head of Retail at Oxfam Ireland, which has partnered with Thriftify, added: “The pandemic and national lockdowns have highlighted to charity retailers the limitations of an over-reliance on brick-and-mortar outlets and the vital importance of establishing and growing an online presence. 

“By working with Thriftify, we feel confident that our business can reach customers that we simply did not before, expanding our market, unlocking potential from quality items, and bringing revenue back to the charity where it matters most.”

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