From Rags To Riches
Blame it on the can’t pass up sales, the “new year, new me” makeover, the rise of minimalist living, the “I have nothing to wear” morning struggles… most of us are probably guilty of having too much clothes. Some clothes that have only seen the light of day once and others that have seen it too often (yikes!). With Spring right around the corner, we’re revamping the meaning behind “Spring Cleaning”.
With the help of fast fashion, clothing leaves our closets as fast as they come in but where exactly do these pre-loved garments head off to? Some find their way down the family tree as hand-me-downs (younger child probs holla!), others make their appearance in thrift stores, but the sad reality is that 85% of unwanted clothing make their way to the landfills where an estimated 3.8 billion pounds of textile waste is accumulated annually. That’s approximately 70 pounds of discarded clothes per U.S. citizen!
The arrival of these discarded garments don’t signify the ending of their life at the landfills. Matter of fact, it has nearly just begun. Clothing that is composed of synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon take anywhere from 30-50 years to decompose at the landfills. During their stay, they emit dangerous toxins into the soil and water and produce unbreathable odors. Textiles that don’t get buried in the landfills are off to the incinerators where they are burned and pollute greenhouse gasses into the air which we most def don’t need in the midst of our current crisis on climate change and global warming.
But wait! It gets more shocking. Ever wonder what the true cost of parting ways with your clothes that aren’t recycled? It costs approximately $100 per ton of textiles to be dumped into the landfills, thats an astonishing $1.1 BILLION IN TAX PAYERS DOLLARS. It costs a consumer’s wallet more to dump clothes than it was to purchase them in the first place, this sadly leaving our planet to pay the ultimate price.
Now that we’re all good and disturbed, here’s how we can all help reduce the impact of clothing waste!
Quality over quantity always. It’s no secret that the increasing popularity for fast fashion has left a very dismal trail on not only our environment but the welfare of underpaid workers in developing countries as well. Choosing quality over quantity is a fashionable investment that pays for itself. Good quality clothing gives your fav closet pieces and must haves longevity, gives you a more stylish wardrobe, and gives the planet a break. Furthermore, buying clothes that are composed of better quality material and construction, gives you the ultimate bang for your buck by not having to purchase much of the same clothing in very short periods. Time is money after all!
Buying better is just the first step in living a more sustainable lifestyle, but now lets kick this Spring cleaning list into high gear.
Okay so maybe you don’t need those 80’s inspired flare disco pants after all…
- 99% of all textiles can be recycled! Don’t fret over those holes, missing buttons, and mysterious stains, just about any of your pre-loved clothing can be recycled despite its condition!
- If it hasn’t been worn in the past year, its time to let it go.
- If you think it has “possible potential” it probably doesn’t, throw it in the donation pile.
- Two is company, threes a crowd! You more than likely don’t need 3 pairs of that same style that only gets worn once in a while.
- Too big, too short, too small, too much! If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit…from your closet,
Now that we have decluttered a little, lets move on to the next stage- upcycling/recycling.
- With social media playing such a prevalent role in most of our lives, there are tons of creative social apps out there that allow you to sell your pre-loved clothes to other people all around the world like Poshmark, Threadflip, Twice and many more! Or you could try more traditional sites like Ebay or Craigslist.
- Get festive and host a clothes swap party with friends! A fun way for you and friends to trade and “shop” each others closets.
- Give and pass it on by donating your clothes. One mans trash is another mans treasure. Gather all your clothes/accessories that you no longer use and take them to your local donation center like a Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Dress for Success, Crisis Centers, Churches, or local shelters. There are hundreds of organizations that will take your pre-loved garments and recycle them for you (for more insight and help on how to recycle your pre-loved belongings check out freecycle!)
- Wait! Step away from the trash, that t-shirt with 10 holes can be upcycled! Just because it can’t be worn doesn’t mean it can’t be used. Often old-clothing make the best cleaning rags. If not, 99% of all textiles despite their condition can be recycled!! Rags that can’t be worn are usually sold or donated to companies who can create useful cleaning rags out of them or use them as carpet padding, there are hundreds or creative ways that textiles can be converted into something new so now theres really no excuse to toss your rags in landfills.
- We’ll make it even easier, if you have any clothing in wearable condition that have no impact in your closet anymore contact firstname.lastname@example.org. With our dear partnership with the Penny Jar Project, your clothing could have a major impact on the lives of those in Africa who may not have sufficient clothing otherwise.
It’s staring to feel a little cleaner already don’t ya think! Now that you know just how many different ways old clothing can recycled and up cycled, make the conscious effort to help our planet out and not let your clothes make their way to the landfills.
That’s all for this week #dreamgirls, check back in weekly to find out how you can lead a more conscious lifestyle!