Are you tired of your clothes and in need of a shopping spree? Maybe a wedding is on the horizon and a new zippy dress or suit sounds divine. Yet, you’ve heard of the negative impact of the fashion industry on our planet. So, what can you do? It’s true, Europe and the United States are the biggest culprits for clothing waste. Cotton is water-intensive and insecticide heavy; leather is often associated with Chromium, a carcinogen; synthetics like polyester, nylon, and rayon are made from fossil fuels, accounting for more than 60% of clothing today.
Clothing may travel thousands of miles before arriving on our doorstep due to the complicated supply chain structure. The microplastics and dyes from clothing can seep into our water system in the wash. After a while of owning it, you tire of it and want to do away with it. So, where can you take it? 85% of U.S. textile waste ends up in landfills or incinerators and polyester can take decades to break down.
How can you sustainably shop and do away with clothes?
- Stop buying so much.
- Donate to thrift stores and buy from thrift stores or online secondhand clothing sites.
- Rent clothing. More and more online platforms do this!
- Donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters bins around town. Big Brothers Big Sisters accept any textile, including old towels, sheets, or accessories and will either resell, donate, or repurpose those items. Find a bin here.
- Know your manufacturer (some are more pro-active than others with sustainability). Learn more here.
Clothing is fun! It’s how we express ourselves. Though times are changing and so must our creativity in moving towards simplistic, long-lasting styles with clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares, and more. Everything we own has a footprint.
By Mary Closser