April 22nd is Earth Day, which is focused on educating about environmental issues and protecting the planet. Since there are hundreds of millions of items of clothing that end up in the landfill each year, I wanted to share a post on ways to reduce clothing waste and how you can become more sustainable.
Shop Your Closet
A great place to start your sustainable fashion journey is to shop your closet in that you wear what you already own. If you have not worn a piece of clothing in a while, pull it out and try to create a new outfit with it. You can also try to create new outfits with the clothes you regularly wear and pair them with different items of clothing or accessories for a new look. Jenni from I on Image has a wonderful post on how to Shop Your Closet Like A Stylist that is definitely worth a read! When you shop your closet, you might realize that you really do not need that new shirt or dress.
Repair Damaged Clothes
If you have stopped wearing a piece of clothing because there was a rip in it or a button fell off, you can sew it and wear it again. If you do not know how to hand sew, I would recommend these YouTube videos on How to Sew a Hole, How to Repair a Tear in Jeans, and How to Sew a Button. You can also bring the piece of clothing to a tailor or seamstress if you do not want to repair the clothing yourself. Furthermore, you can repair worn shoes by bringing them to a shoe repair shop to replace a zipper, repair or replace the soles or heel cap, or stitch rips and tears. However, if the clothing is beyond repair, that brings me to my next point.
Repurpose Worn Clothes
Instead of throwing out your worn clothing, try to find a new purpose for it. The most popular way to repurpose clothing is to turn it into cleaning rags or pillows. However, you can also turn the clothing into accessories for your other clothes like a patch or a pocket or you can also make a scarf, belt, headband, scrunchie, necklace, or bracelet. You can make the clothing into a tote bag, backpack, coin purse, handkerchief, or makeup wipes or turn it into a dog bed cover, toy or bandana. If the piece of clothing holds sentimental value, you can make it into a teddy bear, quilt, or blanket. For tutorials on how to repurpose your clothing, Google and YouTube are great places to start.
Donate Good Quality Clothes
If you have clothes that you do not wear, but they are still in good condition, do not throw them away. First see if you have a family member or friend who wants the clothes. You can also try selling them online, and I will mention websites in my point below. Even though donating your clothes to a thrift store is better than tossing them in the trash, only 10-20% of the clothing that is donated will be sold locally. About half of the donations a thrift store receives will make it onto the shelves, and at most half of those clothes are sold. So what happens to the other 80-90% of donated clothes? About 25% of clothes will be sold second-hand abroad, 30% of clothes will be cut into rags for industrial use, 20% is reprocessed into fiber filling for furniture and home insulation, which leaves 5% of donated clothes ending up in the landfill. That may not seem like a lot, but worldwide hundreds of millions of pieces of clothing end up in the landfill each year. Even though donating is better than throwing your old clothes in the trash, it may not always be the best option especially if your clothing is not in good condition. To ensure that your donated clothing is not part of the 5% that ends up in the landfill, only donate clothes that are new or gently worn and do not donate clothes with holes, stains, bad smells, broken zippers, or missing buttons. If your clothes are not in good condition, you can try to repurpose them or you can donate them to a textile recycling center instead.
Shopping at thrift stores is a great way to find affordable clothing, and you are able to give the clothing a second life. However, you do not know what you will find, and the thrift store might not have what you are looking for or they might not have your size, which can be frustrating. But, you may find treasures and you will not know until you go. Also local thrift stores often help out the community, and the thrift store in my parents’ city donates its profits to local nonprofits, community organizations, and individuals in need. In my city, one of my favorite thrift stores donates its profits to the Danish Cancer Society, which second-hand shops make up 12% of their funding. As well as physical thrift stores, you can buy and sell on online marketplaces like Depop, Mercari, Poshmark, thredUP, OfferUp, Vinted, Tradesy, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace. You can also browse Etsy for vintage and upcycled clothes. By shopping online at second-hand marketplaces, it is easier to find the best bargains for what you are looking for, and most sellers will mention how many times they wore the clothing and if there is any damage. However, by shopping online there is always the possibility that the seller will not send you the clothing you purchased, so be sure to check the reviews of the seller before buying. Lastly, you can participate in clothing swap meetups where you and others trade clothes or you can even look into renting clothes. Buying second-hand or having a clothing swap is a great way to get new clothes without supporting the overproduction of clothing and contributing to the amount of clothing that ends up in the landfill.
Shop Sustainble Brands
It is inevitable that at some point you may need new clothes or you simply want something new that you cannot find second-hand. Rather than shopping at fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara, Primark, New Look, ASOS, Boohoo, Fashion Nova, Missguided, Pretty Little Thing, and Shein who overproduce clothes, pollute the environment, and exploit their workers including children, shop at sustainable brands that pay their workers fair wages and use environmentally friendly fabrics. Furthermore, sustainable brands have higher quality clothing that lasts longer than the clothing from fast fashion brands. The blog Outlandish is a great resource on sustainable fashion, and Teresa has helpful posts on the Best Sustainable Fashion Brands, 11 Sustainable, Size-Inclusive, and Affordable Brands, and 13 Affordable and Sustainable Jean Brands.
By wearing and repairing the clothes you have, donating clothes in good condition, and shopping second-hand and from sustainale brands, you will help reduce clothing waste and become more sustainable. If you are looking for more ways to be sustainable, you can read Becky’s post on 50 Simple Ways To Be Eco Friendly as well as my post on Eco-Friendly Beauty and Personal Care Proucts and my review of the WUKA Period Pants.
The Lifestyle Ladies Blog Collab is a collaboration between myself and 7 other amazing ladies, and every month we will write a post relating to the collab on our own blogs.
For this month, our theme is Earth Day 🌍
- April 20th: My post! Thank you for reading!
- April 22nd: Things I Have Planted In My New Garden To Help The Bees! with Luce
- April 23rd: Simple, Easy Steps to Protect Our Environment and Earth with Haley
- April 25th: How to Be More Eco-Friendly at Home with Kim
- April 26th: Eco-Friendly Switches To Make In 2021 with Rhiannon
- Jessie from Wanderer and Traveller
- Beth from Thoughts of a Real Redhead
- Kirsty from Kirsty Marie