The passage below is accompanied by four questions. Based on the passage, choose the best answer for each question.

The Second Hand September campaign, led by Oxfam . . . seeks to encourage shopping at local organisations and charities as alternatives to fast fashion brands such as Primark and Boohoo in the name of saving our planet. As innocent as mindless scrolling through online shops may seem, such consumers are unintentionally—or perhaps even knowingly —contributing to an industry that uses more energy than aviation. . . .

Brits buy more garments than any other country in Europe, so it comes as no shock that many of those clothes end up in UK landfills each year: 300,000 tonnes of them, to be exact. This waste of clothing is destructive to our planet, releasing greenhouse gasses as clothes are burnt as well as bleeding toxins and dyes into the surrounding soil and water. As ecologist Chelsea Rochman bluntly put it, “The mismanagement of our waste has even come back to haunt us on our dinner plate.”

It’s not surprising, then, that people are scrambling for a solution, the most common of which is second-hand shopping. Retailers selling consigned clothing are currently expanding at a rapid rate . . . If everyone bought just one used item in a year, it would save 449 million lbs of waste, equivalent to the weight of 1 million Polar bears. “Thrifting” has increasingly become a trendy practice. London is home to many second-hand, or more commonly coined ‘vintage’, shops across the city from Bayswater to Brixton.

So you’re cool and you care about the planet; you’ve killed two birds with one stone. But do people simply purchase a second-hand item, flash it on Instagram with #vintage and call it a day without considering whether what they are doing is actually effective?

According to a study commissioned by Patagonia, for instance, older clothes shed more microfibres. These can end up in our rivers and seas after just one wash due to the worn material, thus contributing to microfibre pollution. To break it down, the amount of microfibres released by laundering 100,000 fleece jackets is equivalent to as many as 11,900 plastic grocery bags, and up to 40 per cent of that ends up in our oceans. . . . So where does this leave second-hand consumers? [They would be well advised to buy] high-quality items that shed less and last longer [as this] combats both microfibre pollution and excess garments ending up in landfills. . . .

Luxury brands would rather not circulate their latest season stock around the globe to be sold at a cheaper price, which is why companies like ThredUP, a US fashion resale marketplace, have not yet caught on in the UK. There will always be a market for consignment but there is also a whole generation of people who have been taught that only buying new products is the norm; second-hand luxury goods are not in their psyche. Ben Whitaker, director at Liquidation Firm B-Stock, told Prospect that unless recycling becomes cost-effective and filters into mass production, with the right technology to partner it, “high-end retailers would rather put brand before sustainability.”

Question 9

The central idea of the passage would be undermined if:


The central idea of the passage is the promotion of sustainable shopping practices, particularly second-hand shopping, as a means to combat the detrimental environmental effects of the fashion industry. But, the passage also discusses the need for consumers to be mindful of the environmental impact of their clothing choices, opting for high-quality items that last longer and shed fewer microfibers.
The passage argues that opting for second clothing might not always be beneficial for the environment by highlighting the microfibre pollution that they can potentially cause. Now, if the second-hand clothes being sold were only of higher quality, it would take care of this problem ([They would be well advised to buy] high-quality items that shed less and last longer [as this] combats both microfibre pollution and excess garments ending up in landfills”)
So, the correct answer is Option C.

Option A is more about the purchasing channel than the nature of the clothes so it does not necessarily undermine the central idea of the passage.

Option B supports the central idea by reducing environmental harm.

Option D could align with the sustainability goal and support the central idea, so it doesn't necessarily undermine it.

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