The clothing industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. Because there is a huge demand for new fashionable clothes, the industry is producing an enormous amount of clothing every year. Sadly, most of them end up as garbage, in landfills and oceans (besides the huge amount of plastic).
Few people know about the effects clothing has on our environment. The fashion industry is producing 20% of the global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions. For example, some fabrics are more damaging to the environment than others: cotton needs the biggest amount of water from all fabrics to grow. The industry is also using all kinds of pesticides and fertilizers that have negative effects on our environment. According to Remake.World, “From extreme waste and environmental destruction to illegal wages and unsafe working conditions, the fashion industry’s focus on trendy, disposable clothing has staggering impacts on people and our planet.”
The clothing industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. Here are key tips to help you revive your wardrobe and give your clothes a second life.
What Can You Do to Help the Earth?
Stop throwing away your old clothes and aim to give them a second life. The fast fashion industry is still thriving because of customer demand but you can choose to not contribute any more to its development.
Here are 7 tips that will help you revive your wardrobe and give your clothes a second life.
1. Repair Your Clothes
People often throw their clothes away, even if they only have a button missing. Lots of good quality clothes end up in landfills, intoxicating the soil. To give your clothes a second life you need to change your mindset. Clothes can be repaired and you can do this by yourself. Even if they have a part missing or they have some rips and tears, it doesn’t mean that you cannot wear them anymore.
For example, if you have a skirt with a missing button, maybe you can replace it with another one that is more colorful and happier. Who says that all the buttons must be the same? Show your personality through your clothes. The same goes for jeans that have ripped. You can cut them and have shorts; you can sew the rip or you can make more rips and have a stylish and interesting pair of jeans.
Some manufacturers are setting good examples, such as outdoor gear retailer, Patagonia, which encourages shoppers to buy only what they need and mends and recycles older items. Nudie Jeans offers free repairs for life and offers customers a discount if they hand in their old jeans.
Check out these DIY clothing repair resources:
2. “Refashion” Your Clothes
Reusing your old clothes and adjusting them to create new clothing items is an eco-friendly fashion movement that is gaining momentum. You can create new clothes out of old ones to make a fashion statement and show your personality.
What’s more, there are lots of refashion tutorials on the internet that show you how you can take your old clothes and enhance or make new clothing. These tips and tricks are easy and you can DIY at home. Some of the tips and tricks on the internet include making a dress or a t-shirt out of a scarf or using your old blouse to create a chic one.
Check out these refashion resources:
Some popular refashion blogs:
3. Donate Your Old Clothes
We all have lots of clothes and we know that some of them will never be worn by us. So, why would you throw them away when you can make someone’s life brighter? Even though they are old, it is highly probable that only you see them this way and your clothes are just out of fashion.
There are lots of thrift shops and charitable organizations that collect old clothes and donate them to those in need. Even if you do not wear them anymore, there is someone in the world you can make happier by donating your old clothes.
Examples of sites accepting clothing donation include:
Where to donate locally:
Community Outreach Centers
Homeless Shelters and Missions
School Clothing Drives
4. Exchange Your Clothes
More and more people have become more aware of climate change and pollution and they acknowledged that they are part of this. This is why more and more events where you can exchange clothes are organized nowadays, aiming to reduce the impact of the fashion industry on the environment.
Instead of throwing your old clothes, you can be part of an clothing exchange event or clothing swap. For instance, many local farmer’s market hosts a weekly clothing exchange. In this way, you have the opportunity to find stylish clothes being discarded by others that you can obtain without paying for them.
Examples of clothing exchanges include:
5. Recycle Your Clothes
Another eco-friendly trend that has just emerged is one of recycling clothes. Less than 10% of the old clothes get recycled and most of them end up as waste in our landfills. Everyone has those clothing items that are so old and ripen that they cannot be donated, nor repaired.
So, what should you do with those clothes? One option is Freecycle.org, a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.
If you have stained, torn or otherwise unwearable textiles, clothing recycling is a responsible action. Find a drop-off location for clothing and accessories near you using the Recycling Locator.
Some organizations that accept clothing for resale also recycle clothes that are torn, stained or worn including Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Savers, Blue Jeans Go Green, American Textile Recycling Service and USAgain.
Companies such as H&M have begun to collect old clothes and recycle them. Then, they use the new fibers to make clothes. Also jeans manufacturer, Guess plans to team up with i:Collect, which collects, sorts and recycles clothes and footwear worldwide, to launch a wardrobe recycling program. Patagonia mends and recycles older items. H&M and American Eagle Outfitters offer in-store clothing recycling bins to collect textiles and accessories of any brand. Some companies like Madewell, Levi’s and NorthFace will even reward you for recycling your clothing: Check out: 5 Retailers That Will Reward You For Recycling Your Old, Used Clothes
6. Upcycle and Repurpose Your Clothes
Another great idea to give your clothes a second life is to upcycle them. What does this mean? Upcycling involves turning pre-existing goods into entirely new ones. It goes beyond reducing the waste generated — it also contributes to reducing the use of raw materials, water waste and all gas, air and water pollution.
Wondering what to do with that beloved but worn old sweater? Don’t toss it. Turn it into a pillow. Another example of repurposing is taking your old t-shirts and turning them into grocery bags. It also means that you can stop buying cleaning cloths and make your own. Those ripped t-shirts, shirts or scarfs can be turned into great cloths that you can use to clean and dust — or you can even use them to weave upcycled rugs. Cut them into whatever form you want and see how you can decorate your house.
For inspiration, take a look at some of the creative upcycling examples on Pinterest:
Examples of ways to upcycle and repurpose your old clothes:
7. Resell Your Old Clothes
Your clothes can have a second life on someone else’s body, so why not resell them? Just as exchanging and donating events are organized, so are the ones where you can resell your old clothes. And most of the time, you can resell old clothing and other vintage items other people might be interested in. Consignment shops are also great places to sell good clothing that you no longer want. A simple internet search will likely turn up dozens of local stores in your city or town.
Vintage shops, events and consignment stores encourage people to wear second-hand clothes instead of buying new ones. There are also quite a few online platforms, apps and Facebook groups you can use to resell your clothes.
Clothing Resale Sites include:
There are also several online platforms and apps — as well as Facebook groups — that you can use to resell your clothes. Here are a few examples:
Plus, you can sell clothing on:
If you do not know what to do with your old clothes, don’t throw them away! Your old clothes can have a second life with these 7 indispensable tips. You can refashion them into amazing fashion creations or upcycle them into any number of useful items. You can find companies that are recycling the fibers. Or, you can donate, consign, rent, sell or exchange your old clothes. And if they have small tears, you can repair them or use them to create other items. In short, repair, refashion, donate, rent, sell, upcycle, recycle and reduce fashion waste.
What are your favorite tips for giving your clothing a second life?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
About the Author
Scott Mathews is an essay writer, member of the international community of uk essay writers. His main interests are in the area of psychology, finance, and literature and he offered assignment help on Essayhave.com. Scott has his own research paper writing service where he offers academized paper service along with his colleagues. His hobbies are hiking, playing the piano and watching basketball.
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