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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Wang, Grace A.

Second Advisor

Scollon, Christie Napa

Third Advisor

Myers, Gene (O. Gene)


The advent of fast fashion has drastically altered how Americans consume clothing, from purchase to disposal. Unnecessary clothing consumption may be perceived as morally transgressive in a pro-environmental context. Clothing donation has become the provided solution to deal with the surplus of unwanted clothing, and recycling adheres to pro-environmental morals. Clothing donation may provide guilt alleviation from overconsumption and morally license people to consume more new clothing. This thesis investigates the effect of moral licensing on the overconsumption of clothing and seeks to quantify the relationship between quantity of clothing purchased and donated.

A total of 904 undergraduate students participated in this survey research. The surveys measured the relationship between clothing purchase and clothing donation, and the influence of pro-environmental behavior and recycle guilt on the relationship between fashion consumption and clothing donation. These surveys consisted of both established and piloted scales. Results showed a significant positive correlation of .248 (p < .01) between quantity of clothing purchased and quantity of clothing donated, and that anticipated guilt from not recycling a recyclable material is a statistically significant moderator of the relationship between fashion consumption and clothing donation.

The alleviation of consumption guilt by recycling may morally license people to consume more new clothing. Recognizing such patterns is essential to addressing the environmental problem of fast fashion and overconsumption.




fast fashion, sustainable clothing, textile recycling, textile waste, moral licensing, overconsumption, negative spillover, pro-environmental behavior, sustainable fashion


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Clothing industry--Environmental aspects; Clothing industry--Moral and ethical aspects; Textile fabrics--Recycling; Consumer behavior




masters theses




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