Fashion is the second most polluting industry
Did you know most clothing gets worn around five times before it’s discarded? This is thanks to an industry that pushes quick trends and fast, cheap fashion.
While textile recycling programs do exist, they only account for 15% of total waste, leaving 85% in landfills! In fact, the average U.S. citizen tosses 70lbs of clothing and other textiles every year.
Just for the sake of visualization, that’s approximately the weight of a large dog.
Now multiply that large dog by the U.S. population of 326,766,748.
That’s a big pile of dogs!
While a gigantic dog pile might be adorable fluffy fun, the actual problem is not.
Clothing given a second life can reduce yearly landfill gas emissions by up to 73%!
I’m a big fan of secondhand clothing, clothing repair/tailoring to extend life, and repurposing textiles.
I try to shop local secondhand/thrift stores, but online stores like ThreadUp.com (use my referral link to get 10% off your order), Swap.com (referral link to get $10 off your order), or Poshmark.com, are a great way to extend the lives of clothing, too.
Climate change is here, and our contribution to it is finally being recognized! More and more businesses are putting sustainability at the forefront; businesses like The Renewal Workshop repair and resell damaged clothing, and the app Good On You assigns ethical and sustainable ratings to clothing brands.
To be a secondhand shopping pro, check out these great tips over at Going Zero Waste.
What about clothes that are no longer good enough for resale?
Of course, if you’ve got the sewing skills (or even if you don’t!), you can always repair or repurpose them:
- Channel the homesteaders of old and turn worn clothing, or old denim into beautiful quilts!
- Upcycle pants into a cute circle skirt, a sleek pencil skirt, or just hem into shorts.
- Have a bunch of old denim? Why not turn them into this durable, waterproof picnic blanket? And get an eyeful of these beautiful hexagon and chevron denim pillows!
- Turn button down shirts into adorable pillows, a handy apron, a cute shirt, a maternity peasant blouse, a dress for a little one, or a chic kimono.
- While logo’d T-shirts may not be a hot resale item, the soft jersey seems to only get softer with multiple washes. That makes it ideal for a plethora of up-cycling projects, like T-shirt Yarn, Reusable Grocery Bags (tutorials coming soon!) or make yourself a set of T-shirt undies.
- But if an item is really no longer wear-able, you could cut them into reusable cleaning rags (because paper towels are tree killers), or up-cycle them into useful household items like Reusable Food Wraps.
Consciousness is key
No matter what, a consideration for the products we wear and use can go miles in creating a happier, healthier, cleaner planet and a sustainable future!
If you like my ideas for Up-cycling: Clothing, or have some of your own you’d like to share, please leave a comment below, or instagram with the hashtag #makeadlib. Don’t forget to tag @makeadlib!