The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, and 20% of global waste water. In the UK we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe and an estimated £140 million worth goes to landfill every year. Simple changes to how we buy and dispose of our clothing can have a huge impact on both the planet and also save us money.
One third of us have clothes in our wardrobes that haven’t been worn for at least a year so maybe it’s time to declutter. Go through your wardrobe and pick out your favourite items and sort your old/unworn items into sell, donate, recycle or repair. Many items can be sold on apps like Vinted or Depop. Charity shops are always looking for good quality clothing to sell and are also a great place to find a unique new item for your wardrobe. If the items are worn or damaged beyond repair, take them to your local council recycling centre.
Repair and Reuse
4 in 5 people own at least some clothes that have not been worn because they no longer fit or need altering. Why not take your items to your local repair café to have them fixed? Learn how to repair them yourself and give your favourite clothes a new lease of life.
When buying clothes, take the approach that ‘less is more’. Buy a few items made from good quality fabrics to create the perfect ‘capsule wardrobe’. Avoid synthetic fabrics. 60% of all clothing is made of polyester and contains microplastics. Washing these type of garments accounts for 35% of the ocean’s microplastics. The clothes may cost you a little more than you would usually pay but by having fewer items your clothes will be cheaper overall. Good quality clothes will also last longer.
Caring for them
And finally, as Joan Crawford once said, “Care for your clothes like the good friends they are”. Wash less often (Levis recommends only washing your jeans every 11 wears) and at lower temperatures. Good for your clothes and good for your energy bills.
By Melanie Nurse