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How to Stop Treating Clothes as Disposables

On average, consumers tend to throw away 60% of their clothes within the first year of purchase. And this year alone, an estimated 18.6 million tonnes of clothing will end up in landfills. Which begs the question: At what point did we start treating clothes like paper towels? 

For as long as we can remember, pop culture has glorified the idea of excess consumerism. We have been constantly fed with visuals of walk-in closets, credit card swipes, shopaholism, aspirational luxury and logomania. Idealising these tropes have only led to an unhealthy relationship with fashion. One which perpetuates the idea that ‘excess equals success’ or is proof of having ‘made it’ — none of which is true. A recent study by environmental charity Hubbub confirmed this notion when it revealed that 1 in 6 young people wouldn't wear the same outfit once it's been posted on social media. 

If we are to step away from this inherent narrative of treating clothes as dispensable objects, then we have to change how we perceive them. And here’s how you can do it;

Understand the Impact 

Fashion doesn’t just have a waste problem, it also has a polyester problem that’s exacerbating it. 65% of the clothing that we wear is polyester-based, aka plastic. After conventional cotton, polyester takes second place when it comes to fabrics with the worst environmental impact. While polyester production doesn’t require any soil or excessive water to make, it heavily relies on the petrochemicals for raw material. So much so that every year nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used to make synthetic fibres. Not only are fossil fuels non-renewable but when their by-products (read: polyester) end up in landfills, it can take anywhere from 20 to 200 years to biodegrade.

Buy Less but Better

The act of shopping is inevitable but our choices could definitely use some consideration. With fast fashion’s demonstrated history of environmental trouble, it would be wise to Buy Sustainable Clothing that come in fabrics that have little to no impact on the environment. These include fibres like tencel, hemp, organic linen and cotton, vegan leather and peace silk. Additionally, buying clothes made from recycled materials like polyester and nylon can actually end up saving plastic from heading to landfills. Take a look at our sustainable shopping guide for more tips on how to make better Purchases of Sustainable women's clothing Online.

Make Your Clothes Last Longer

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2,625 kilograms of clothing becomes waste every second. This amount is enough to fill the Empire State building one and a half times every day, and fill up the Sydney harbour every year. Extending the shelf life of your clothing by just 9 months could potentially save 8% carbon, 10% water, 4% waste per metric ton of clothing, according to WRAP’s Valuing Our Clothes report. For more insight on how upcycling and reuse can positively impact the planet, take a look here.

Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-12-04

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