Temu, a supposed competitor to Amazon and an ad-ridden website, has recently risen in popularity within the US. Even though shipping times are long and the app at-times confusing to use, its low prices and large range of items appeal to many Americans in a time of rising expenses. Companies like Shein, however, have taught us that these prices rarely mean that the products we buy are sustainable. Is Temu the same?
Temu participates in something known as ‘Fast Fashion.’ Although the name suggests it, ‘Fast Fashion’ isn’t restricted to fashion. Rather, it’s an all-encompassing term to describe patterns of large consumption and companies’ mass production and low costs to match it.
This mass production results in an insane amount of greenhouse gas emissions (estimates are up to 8.6% of world emissions). It also, in its nature, requires many materials and thus extraction that harms the earth and creates unusable amounts of cheap products that have short lives and are hard to recycle.
For Fast Fashion businesses like Temu to stay in business and continue to offer cheap prices, their products are inherently exploitative—both for the planet and the people, who often hail from poorer countries.
Does this mean you shouldn’t purchase from Temu? Not necessarily. Ordering every so often, especially for families with less income, is not the end of the world. Spending often and participating in mass consumption where you often replace the products you purchase with little regard for the environment or the people who made them is not.