Clothing waste makes up a significant percentage of rubbish removal in the UK each year. Rubbish removal companies like Clearabee collect around £140m worth of clothing that ends up in a landfill each year. The ‘fast fashion’ trend of cheap, disposable clothing contributes significantly to this, as people tend to wear items only a few times and then just throw them away either from wear and tear or just ‘going out of fashion’. Read on to find out why this is bad for the environment and what you can do to help stop it.
Why is clothing waste bad for the environment?
Clothing and general textile production has some seriously detrimental effects on the environment. Cotton alone is the 4th most grown GMO crop in the world, accounting for 16% of global pesticide usage and consumes huge amounts of water: 200 tonnes of water is needed to produce 1 tonne of textiles. Synthetic materials are often even worse, contributing to both chemical and micro-plastic waste that leaks into the environment. All of this does not even factor in the humanitarian issues with fast fashion, ranging from child labour to outright slavery in poor, third world countries.
How can I help reduce clothing waste?
Charity clothing shops are great because you can help save clothing waste twofold. You can cut down on the amount of clothing waste thrown away by donating your old, used clothes rather than throwing them away. Just make sure they’re still suitable to wear! In addition to getting rid of clothes you no longer want, consider buying your clothes from charity and thrift shops. This extends the life of unwanted clothing that is still perfectly wearable and results in doing your part towards less new clothing being made.
Recycle and reuse
Clothes don’t have to be donated or thrown away once they have outlived their usefulness. Oftentimes, many articles of clothing can be refashioned and repurposed for other uses. Old shirts can become rags and jeans can be cut to become shorts to name just a couple of examples that both help cut down on the need for clothing rubbish removal. Dresses can be cut down to use their fabric for arts and crafts and multiple items of clothing can be combined to create brand new articles of clothing. You don’t need to be a seamstress to find creative uses for old clothing that stops you from throwing away your old clothes and contributing to the need for clothing rubbish removal.
Buck the trend for fast fashion
You can still buy brand new articles of clothing while being environmentally and ethically mindful. Fast fashion revolves around cheap, disposable items of clothing that is made with low cost in mind rather than being made to last. While rubbish removal companies like Clearabee often have recycling programmes of their own, the best way to reduce clothing waste is to simply lessen the amount of clothes you throw away. By choosing to buy clothes from companies that use high quality materials and pay a fair rate for the labour used, you can still enjoy brand new, fashionable clothing. These clothes will often last far longer than their cheaper counterparts, so you can wear them for much longer before you need to throw them away.
Reducing your own environmental impact when it comes to clothing involves being conscious of your own buying habits when it comes to fashion and the consequences. Don’t buy in to the fast fashion trend, pay a fair price for your clothes and reuse and recycle wherever you can!