If you are conscious about making small changes towards living a more sustainable lifestyle you can start with the clothes you own. Here is a shortlist of five things you can do to manage your clothes more sustainably.
1. Pass them on
If you have items of clothing that you were not worn the last twelve months then it is time to pass them down to family or friends. After roughly a year, the seasons have changed, festivities have past and most of the events we would normally attend are through. Clothes that have not been worn during this time can be confidently given way and still maintain their longevity, therefore, dispose of them sustainably and responsibly.
2. Hold a clothes swap or attend one
An estimated £30 billion worth of unworn clothes sits in the UK wardrobes while 300,000 tonnes of garments go into landfills or incinerators every year. According to WRAP, (Waste and Resources Action Programme) we each own the equivalent of at least 100 items of clothing.
If you look in your closet, you’ll most likely see more than a few items you haven’t worn for at least a year. Why not add them into a section designated for a clothing swap?
Here are some tips on hosting your own:
- Give your friends enough notice so that they will have plenty of time to go through their wardrobes before the event.
- Give them the lowdown, ie. bring clothes/shoes/accessories in good condition.
- On the day of the event, get everyone to lay out their clothes so everyone can see what is on offer.
- Share some nibbles and don’t forget to have fun.
You will be surprised by how much better you will feel with the extra space in your wardrobe!
3. Donate, sell or hire
Another common way to extend the longevity of your clothes is to donate them to charities. Also, some retailers will take your unwanted clothing and may even offer you a store discount or a voucher. If you own branded clothing you may choose to resell them and recoup some of the purchase costs. If you own designer clothes you can also lend them out. Some companies will handle this for you. For more information have a look at https://www.hurrcollective.com and https://www.byrotation.com/ (UK).
4. Fix or/and alter
Now, of course, we are not all expert sewers or up-cycling enthusiasts, but there are plenty of talented seamstresses/tailors who can very skillfully transform an outfit and help you keep it for many years to come. If some clothes are unrepairable and you love the design or pattern on them, you can turn them into something else by altering them. Options for altering include making smaller versions of the clothing, turning trousers into shorts, or even up-cycling them into something completely different (cushions, tote bags, etc).
This should be the last resort really because textile recycling is not a very straightforward process. Did you know that 95% of textiles can be recycled but only a very small percentage reaches the recycling depots? Every year, we continue to throw away our old textiles, even though almost all of them can be recycled! If your clothing doesn’t meet charity standards, or they are not in good condition to be worn by someone else then you could look for recycling areas that take textiles. You can look up your nearest clothing bank on the Recycle Now (https://www.recyclenow.com/) or check out a textile recycling website like (http://www.lmb.co.uk/).
How do you dispose of your clothes? Share in the comments below or get in touch with me on Social Media
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