How does eBay Contribute to Sustainable Fashion?

An announcement by eBay UK provides data on its contribution to sustainability in the fashion retail industry through sales of secondhand clothes

The e-commerce retail giant, eBay, was originally founded for the purpose of secondhand sales. The company has been the hub for used items since its founding in 1995, with competition coming in from the likes of non-profit platforms likes Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, which provide an advertising platform free of charge.

As a result of its primary purpose—to sell used items, eBay has contributed positively to the growing waste management concerns. The company’s recent research shows it has saved 17,771 tonnes of fashion waste from landfills—solely from garments themselves. While this is a significant amount of products that have been repurposed, eBay is only just getting started as it encourages the public to continue purchasing secondhand clothes in an effort to reduce the total annual number from 336,000 garments. 

‘It’s fantastic to see conscious shopping getting more mainstream and sustainable purchasing habits stretching beyond the pandemic, proving that pre-loved is more than just a trend’, says Emma Grant, Head of Preloved at eBay UK. ‘With the market for second-hand sales continuing to grow, this year we’ve managed to save even more items from landfill by finding them new homes and extending their lifecycle’. 

Initiatives for Improving upon Fashion Waste

‘This Oxfam’s Second Hand September, we’re encouraging consumers to clear out their cupboards and sell for charity by matching donations. With the new season upon us there’s no better time to clear out those cupboards, help your items find a new home, making a little money and all while supporting an amazing cause’, says Grant.

Oxfam’s role in sustainable fashion is also very important across the UK. The non-profit is encouraging the use of secondhand clothing through its ‘Second Hand September’, of which eBay will match the sales of Oxfam products on its platform—up to a maximum of £50,000—and will go to towards beating poverty around the world. 

Lorna Fallon, Retail Director at Oxfam, says, ‘We’re excited to be partnering with eBay to encourage people to buy and sell second-hand clothing and raise as much money as possible for our work fighting poverty around the world. Buying second-hand helps to reduce the impact of clothing on the environment by giving garments a new lease of life’. 

It’s exciting to see how one e-commerce company with a history of second-hand sales can incorporate various sustainability initiatives into its strategy and has already provoked significant change. However, more innovative business practices will be required to eliminate garment waste. 


For more sustainability insights, check out the latest issue of Sustainability Magazine.

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