Hello everyone! I hope you enjoyed the long weekend and are almost ready for the week ahead. Today I want to share with you why it is important to take good care of your clothes and how you can do it. Good quality clothing is important to last over time and stay in good shape. That being said, you still need to make sure you are aware of how you can make your clothes look great longer. As mentioned, I’ll start with the reason you should take care of your clothes and we will see how you can do that.
Do you know how many pounds of clothing end up in landfills every year?
“A new survey found that the average American will toss out 81 pounds of clothing this year. That amounts to 26 billion pounds of textiles and clothes ending up in landfills. – You’re Probably Going To Throw Away 81 Pounds Of Clothing This Year, Huffington Post, Updated 06/09/2016 13:42 EDT (1)
This is so much textile and the worst part if that “while 95 percent of used textiles can be recycled, 85 percent land in the trash.”(2) This is the biggest reason you should take good care of your clothes and make sure they last as long as possible. A good option is also to shop second-hand or at a thrift store as this small gesture can save a lot of fabric from the landfills. To keep your clothes over 5 or more years instead of purchasing new pieces every year has a huge effect on the amount produced, the dying effect on nature and the amount of clothing in landfills.
On a positive note, there are designers out there creating amazing pieces from recycled fabric and giving a second life to a great piece of clothing. There are clothing libraries opening where you can rent clothes (discover more at My Green Closet). I would say that the best way you can help is by making conscious decisions when you purchase new pieces to add to your wardrobe and make sure you donate to charity shops or thrift stores your unwanted pieces. They could become someone’s new favourite piece.
When you take care of your clothes you avoid new fabric dye (or any chemical)(3), micro-particles and air pollution (not sure the exact term but if you do, please leave it in the comment section below) into our beautiful planet’s environment. It might not be next door but we all do see and feel the effects of this intense pollution. I have been seeing recently more and more videos on the ocean’s pollution and the “seas of garbage” floating around parts of the world and it breaks my heart. It is mainly plastic pollution in the ocean but did you know that micro-particles of fabric can be washed away from your clothes while in the washing machine. (4) The Plastic Pollution Coalition offers ways to help minimize our micro-particles impact on the environment (article). As previously mentioned, there is the environmental impact of clothing dye to also be considered but there are also alternative ways to dye clothing (article).
If the two previous answers to why you should take good care of your clothes did not resonated with you, there is also a financial reason. If you purchase fewer clothes and need to replace them less often you will save lots of money. Within the environmental movement, we can find the “R”s like reuse, recycle, refuse, etc. The ones I would like to give a mention here are: rehome, reuse, reduce and refuse. These four will help you reduce your environmental impact and save money both in the short and long term.
Washing & Drying
Always wash your clothes with cold water (except certain fabric so check first but most are safe) and use biodegradable laundry detergent. I just started to research this in more depth so stay tuned for product recommendation and what to look for environmentally safe products. I would also add to be mindful of the micro-particles from synthetic fabrics and maybe use washing bags (see above articles) to avoid them washing away. Another thing to be mindful of is the fabric softeners perfume. There are alternatives that will not irritate your skin and would have lesser of an impact on the environment.
If you can, avoid using the dryer whenever possible. In the summer, it is easier for me to use the clothesline to dry sheets, clothes and towels. I will hair dry in the dryer delicate pieces that might not go on the clothesline. Another thing I use is a clothing rack for undergarments to hair dry inside the house (be aware that it creates humidity in the house, so open the windows and be mindful of that in the winter).
Repairs & Reuse
If possible, instead of buying new clothes you could fix them or pay a tailor to alter that piece of clothing rather than throwing away in the trash (you should donate if the garment can be worn again). Another alternative for used clothes is to create new ones. I just saw an article about a donation centre recycling clothing fabric to make new clothes. If the clothes could not be sold the fabric would be recycled. This might be worth your time to research in your area.
I hope this gave you some inspiration to join in the movement and change your habits. The impact we have on our planet is more than it can take and we should start to make changes to limit our negative effects. If you have recommendations, alternatives or articles on that subject, please share in the comments below. I hope you enjoyed this post and you will be back on my blog shortly. Also don’t forget to share, like and follow me on social media. Have a lovely day.
Articles & Ressources
(1) Huffington Post Article
(2) The Saturday Evening Post Article
(3) Trusted Clothes
(4) The Guardian
The Balance Small Business