How To Go Zero Waste at Home; The Closet
When it comes to our environmental footprint, we often think of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” phrase in reverence to various kitchenware items and “to go” requests at our local coffee shops. However, according to Rick LeBlanc with The Balance Small Business, clothing and textiles are to blame for over 15 million tons in waste each year. Of that 15 million, only 2.6 million is recycled. To make those numbers even harder to bear, nearly 100% of that 15 million tons is reducible, reusable, and recyclable. And who is to blame for these numbers? Take a look in the mirror, friends. We are. Consumers. We are to blame for the shocking amount of waste and we are to blame for ignoring the numbers.
We live in a consumer oriented world. We shop. We watch trends. Trends change. We throw out and therefore shop… again. We have to break this cycle and learn a new way of keeping our closets waste free. And believe it or not, you can probably stay within the trends while you do so! Below are some tips on how to keep your closet waste free and reduce your environmental footprint one sweater at a time.
Thrifting - Shopping at thrift stores not only keeps clothing out of landfills, but they reduce the demand for new materials, salvaging resources that would otherwise be destroyed. But thrifting isn’t just a savvy way to reuse clothes; it’s an opportunity to maintain style without breaking your wallet. Trends come and they go. But they almost always come again. Thrift stores are the ideal place to grab inexpensive vintage clothing and spare the environment while doing so!
Donate your clothes - Just as shopping at thrift stores helps build a sustainable environment, donating to these organizations does as well. The obvious reuse of these items keeps them out of landfills and into the hands of appreciative customers. Additionally, according to EcoGoodz, these organizations typically receive more items than they are able to sell. In this situation, these items are exported to countries of higher needs for reuse or sale. So, by donating, we are minimizing the landfill waste, helping those in need, and helping sustain our environment all in one.
Style > Fashion - Do you really need that pair of jeans that have retro patches all over them and you’ll probably only wear once? Are they going to sit in your closet for a year before you toss them into the garbage questioning why you ever bought them in the first place? We need to ask ourselves these questions when it comes to our wardrobes. As consumers, we like to purchase items that excite us. But this behavior is also adding to the waste items in landfills and ultimately helping to destroy our environment. We need to get into the habit of understanding the difference between style and fashion. Style is timeless. It’s a personal take on self expression which can take on many faces and characteristics. Fashion, however, is a trend-based designer’s choice that’s ultimately used to generate sales. It’s what fools you into buying those jeans that you’ll wear once. Style, however, does not go out of style. It allows us to live minimally and stay true to our personality without being wasteful in the meantime. It allows us to be the designers and create a sustainable wardrobe while doing it. Style can typically be created from items you already own and have been wearing for years. It’s creative and it’s sustainable. And, surprise, surprise, IT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY. Check out this style blog to help turn your style from a landfill filler to a sustainable source of personal expression.
The clothing industry is a significant contributor to environmental issues and is significantly less considered when we approach our personal footprints. However, it may be one of the easier ways to reduce this footprint without having to change much at all. And unlike going waste-free in other categories of the home, this one is pretty easy to do. Heck, it might be as simple as a trip to the thrift store instead of the mall.
For other tips on how to go Zero Waste check these out:
Cleaning Supplies; How to Create a Zero Waste Cleaning Kit