Now is the time to make your wardrobe more sustainable to help reduce waste. The average American throws out around 81 pounds of clothes away every year. About 85% of our clothes end up in landfills or burned by garbage facilities. This creates methane gas when they are burned. Clothes take over 200 years to decompose and can leach toxic dyes and chemicals into soil and groundwater.
Even though most of us don’t see the immediate negative impact of our garbage, future generations can suffer the consequences. By taking action, you can reduce this waste and introduce more sustainable practices into your life. Here are some great ways to reduce waste by making your wardrobe more sustainable.
Instead of purchasing clothes that have synthetic fabrics such as acrylic, polyester or polyurethane products, you can buy ones made with natural textiles. Organic cotton products are not only affordable and easy to find, but they are easier to recycle. Farmers do not use pesticides on organic cotton, which reduces the amount of harmful chemicals introduced to the environment. This contributes to organic cotton’s sustainability.
Buy Long-Lasting Quality Clothes
You should purchase high-quality clothes that are durable. Long-lasting clothes can be used for years and won’t require you to throw them away in a short amount of time. This helps reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and allows you to be more conscious of the quality of fabrics that you purchase.
Use Ethical Brands
Some clothing manufacturers use unethical practices to create clothes. For example, most fast-fashion clothing brands create lots of poor-quality clothes at incredibly low prices. This makes it easy for customers to purchase large amounts of clothes and discard them rapidly. Garment workers also get paid less because consumers purchase cheaply made discounted clothing, creating a demand for an industry that pays a low income.
Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent can eventually leak into the environment and the ocean. Over time, the buildup of these chemicals becomes significant, since billions of people continuously use laundry detergent. The chemicals in laundry detergents can harm the environment and destabilize delicate ecosystems.
Print Eco-Friendly T-Shirts
You can make custom-designed eco-friendly t-shirts that have an image or slogan of your choice using sustainable materials. This is a great way to revamp your wardrobe while knowing exactly how the material is sourced and made. Just find a printable t-shirt website that specifies how its clothing is eco-friendly and then upload the image of your choice for a fresh addition to your wardrobe.
Buy Clothes That Can Be Used Throughout Seasons
Instead of buying a unique piece that can only be worn during one season, get clothes that you can mix and match throughout the year. If you buy only thin t-shirts for the spring, then they will have no use for the winter. Excluding the summer months, this requires you to purchase even more clothes. You can use medium-thickness fabrics that can be layered for the spring, fall and winter.
Wash Clothes Less Frequently
Every time you wear an outfit, you don’t have to throw it into the washing machine right after. You can minimize how much you wear out clothes by washing them less. You can wash them after you’ve worn them two to three times, if you’ve been sweating in them and if they get dirty. Unless you get dirt, food or a stain on your outfit, try to avoid washing, especially it if it is still crisp and clean.
Wash on Cold
Try to wash your clothes with cold water to help prevent wearing them out after each wash cycle. Washing your clothes with cold water slows down the fading of your clothing’s colors. It also reduces shrinkage and helps keep fabrics intact. Your clothes can last longer when you avoid washing them in hot water. Plus, washing on cold saves energy.
Fold Heavy Sweaters
Heavy sweaters can get stretched out and lose their shape when you hang them in your closet. Over time, hanging them will make them misshapen, forcing you to throw them away. Fold them to make them hold their shape for a longer time.
Donate Old Clothes
If you have clothes that you no longer wear that are still in relatively good shape, you should consider donating them. You can also sell them at consignment stores to make some extra money. This allows others to buy cool fashion designs at discount prices and keeps your clothes from ending up in the trash. If they’re too tattered to donate, try repurposing them.
Buy From Thrift Stores
To improve your sustainable practices, you can also buy clothes from the thrift store. This reduces your carbon footprint and recycles old clothes. You can avoid purchasing new clothes that add to the fabric waste produced by consumers every year.
Buy Better Hangers
You probably have a closet full of plastic or wire hangers but aren’t aware that these make your wardrobe less sustainable. That is because poor quality hangers create saggy clothes because the weight of silks, velvet, satin and other fashionable fabrics can get distorted over time. To prevent fold creases and distorted clothes, buy better hangers. It is recommended that you buy wooden hangers to prevent your clothes from sagging around the shoulders.
Buy Fair Trade Clothing
If you want the people who stitched your outfits together to be paid fairly, you can purchase brands that only source products from fair trade manufacturers. Doing this can reduce the number of workers who are taken advantage of in the fashion industry.
Start Making Your Wardrobe More Sustainable
Create a more sustainable wardrobe today and help reduce the amount of textile waste that gets placed in garbage dumps every year. You can help encourage these practices by telling your friends and family how you are making your wardrobe more sustainable. The more we talk about issues in the fashion industry, the more we can inspire others to demand better from the companies that make our clothing.