While recycling items is much better than throwing them away, even the recycling process takes energy and valuable natural resources. The production of new clothing is also extremely resource-intensive, and unnecessary overconsumption of clothing can impact our lives and the lives of others in a variety of ways. (all links external)
Think about the benefits that may come from purchasing and owning fewer clothes, such as:
- spending less time shopping and more time for everything else.
- a reduced pace and complexity of life.
- having more money in your pocket.
Environment and Workers
Fast fashion—the mass production and sale of low-cost clothing collections that reflect constantly changing fashion trends—is having a devastating effect on consumers, garment workers, communities, and the planet.
According to fashion industry magnate Eileen Fisher, “The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world…second only to oil.” The communities most heavily affected by that pollution are those in which the clothing is produced—some of the least developed countries in the world with the most lax environmental and worker safety regulations.
You can help save resources and prevent negative economic, worker, and environmental impacts in the following ways:
- Mend clothing and repair shoes that you already own to keep them in good repair
- Buy only what you need, which for many will mean buying less
- Purchase quality, durable items in classic styles that outlast passing trends
- Buy secondhand clothes, shoes, and linens to extend the life of these items
- When you must purchase new clothing, buy sustainable clothing, including those that are…
- made from certified organic cotton using non-toxic dyes.
- Fair Trade certified.
- can be recovered at the end-of-life for recycling (for example, see Patagonia).
Reduce clothing consumption – try these challenges to help make more of the clothes you already have.
- Be More with Less Project 333 – a minimalist fashion challenge. Learn to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
- 30 Day Challenge of Wearing Your Wardrobe – “…fall in love with your closet all over again…"