Choosing Sustainable and Organic Clothing: Going Green with Fashion
Everything you do has a direct effect on our environment – even the very clothes that you choose to buy and wear. More than 9% of the waste that goes into landfills is textiles used for clothing, according to the study conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This translates to every person in the US dumping at least 81 pounds worth of clothing over a lifetime. This fact is understandably alarming for those who wish to go green and promote sustainable practices. So, if you’re someone who aims to live an eco-conscious life, what options exist in terms of clothing?
Eco-Ethical Fashion as Necessity
Fashion has a significant impact on our lives. It helps us express our individuality and is quite functional in protecting our bodies from external elements. What a lot of people do not realize is that certain materials used in popular clothing like spandex or polyester take about 20 to 200 years to fully decompose. Factoring that number with all other items in landfills that take decades to decay, eco-ethical fashion is drastically needed to reduce our collective waste output.
Eco-ethical fashion includes the use of materials that are not only sustainable but are fully biodegradable. Popular materials are cotton, wool, bamboo, hemp, coconut, and many others. Many of these materials take mere months to decompose which is a lot more ideal than other textiles.
Making Conscious Brand Choices
The terms “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” are commonly used by brands. but not all of them truly make it a part of their business – this is called “greenwashing.” As a consumer, it is imperative that you make careful and conscious decisions about the clothing brands that you choose to patronize. Otherwise, you’ll just be contributing to an already burgeoning problem.
There are organizations that make it a point to find out how truly eco-friendly a brand is and give them suitable rankings. You can use your favorite search engine, social media, or even forums to find out more about eco-conscious brands. Do not be afraid to really look at the labels to find out the composition of the piece that you are researching.
The Conundrum of Old Clothes
A constant challenge of those who are switching to eco-friendly clothing is deciding what to do with older pieces of clothing they have. These articles of clothing may not decompose well and are no longer trendy. For people who aim to live green, this is where repurposing and upcycling comes in.
You can choose to keep the older clothes and turn them into other items for the home, like rags or even using them to become mats. The possibilities are truly endless! If you’d rather not keep old clothes around, you can also choose to donate them or send them to brands which repurpose them into something else.
- Blue Jeans Go Green recycles by turning old denim into useful insulation instead of polluting the landfills.
- Patagonia is a less conventional company that manufacturers outdoor gear. Established in 2005 they will repair and replaces zippers, patch rips and renew and return items that customers may worn or bought many years ago. Shoppers can sell used Patagonia items in good condition back to the company and buy “certified, pre-owned” Patagonia gear at discounted prices online. Their belief is to encourage loyal customer to buy less, not more and accepts Patagonia garments back for recycling, too. They were one of the first companies to turn plastic into polar fleece, and today uses recycled polyester, recycled wool and recycled down
- Roadrunner services that recycle any type of clothing or cloth, give it a new life and will pick them up at your door. They donate to those that are in need and repurpose any type of clothing for reuse in some way so that they do not end up in a landfill.
- Kallio a company based in NYC recycles men’s dress shirts into functional and useful clothing for babies and small children both little girls and boys..
Sustainable and organic clothing can truly make a difference in our lives and for the environment. We aren’t the only ones on this planet, and we won’t be the last ones here. So it’s important to do whatever steps we can to leave a better world for future generations.
What do you do with your old clothes? Do you recycle or repurpose, donate or find creative ways to upcycle your old clothes? Please share your ideas in the comment section below.