The clothing industry can use your help in keeping the environment safe — and your style can still shine while you’re making eco-friendly choices. Each year, new trends don’t seem to slow down, so you may feel like you can’t catch a breath to start living green. This endless cycle of fast fashion is precisely why you should begin recycling in style.
To begin living a more eco-friendly life, you can try these practical tips any time of year. Check out these five ways to join the green movement with your fashion.
1. Choose Sustainable Fabrics
You may pick up a sweater in the store because it looks soft and comfortable. But consider choosing your clothes based on other factors in the fabric. The number of resources it takes to grow some fibers can have a negative impact on nature if manufacturing goes unchecked. For instance, cotton takes more water to grow than many other fibers.
Hemp, linen, soy and bamboo fabrics need less water and are more renewable crops. However, you don’t have to forgo cotton entirely, because organic cotton is a sustainable alternative. You can look for some sustainable synthetic fibers, like lyocell, while you shop, too. Lyocell is a biodegradable fabric made from renewable materials and has the bonus of a therapeutic, soft texture.
2. Put Fast Fashion on Hold
Manufacturers, clothing stores and customers all depend on each other to keep the cycle of buying new styles going. Fast fashion is a term for clothing that cycles quickly between manufacture and purchase, but speedy creation can mean poor quality. It seems like a no-brainer to enjoy low prices while they last, but the continuous cycle can hurt the environment.
Take a break from fast fashion, even a short one, so consumer demand doesn’t do too much harm. A fast fashion break looks different for everyone. Depending on how you choose to put this into practice, you can invest in dresses or shoes that last longer or shop from retailers who try to reduce waste and sell eco-friendly clothing.
You can try this challenge during the holidays when purchasing is at its peak or during back-to-school season when students are buying new outfits to show off by their lockers. The environment can benefit from your break during any season.
3. Responsibly Dispose of Your Clothes
Because Americans are buying more clothing, but keeping them for a shorter time, many clothing items end up in the trash. In 2015, manufacturers produced an estimated 16 million tons of textiles, while 10.5 million tons of textiles ended up in landfills. Discarded clothing does more than take up room in the landfill — it can also pollute the air as it decomposes. However, many places offer to take your old, ratty clothing and recycle what they can.
Responsibly getting rid of your old clothes means you don’t have to toss them in the trash. You can donate them to charities and clothing drives. You may hesitate to drop your undergarments off at a charity, but this is the primary purpose of some unique recycling companies like The Bra Recyclers.
4. Recycle Pieces From Your Closet
The key to transitioning your style from season to season, without purchasing all-new pieces, is to focus on using what you already have in creative ways. You probably have some items in the back of your closet that haven’t seen the light of day for months or years. You can recycle old shirts by pairing them with newer items. Layering, especially during winter, can make familiar clothes seem new.
If you have items you want to keep around, but they’re on their last legs, you can use them for DIY projects. Upcycling clothing into new items, like turning a T-shirt into a purse, revitalizes your wardrobe. Another way to reuse clothing you already have is to repair broken or worn items. As your favorite pair of shoes sustains wear and tear, you can recycle them by taking them to a professional or fixing them up yourself.
5. Cycle out Your Wardrobe With a Clothing Swap
For those who have trendy friends, get them in on eco-friendly style by organizing a clothing swap — a get-together where you and your pals can exchange pieces you don’t wear anymore. Tell your friends the kind of clothes you plan on bringing so it can be an even trade.
A clothing swap is a simple way to refresh your wardrobe without tossing items in the garbage or going to the store. You may want to host a more organized swap or have a free-for-all, but the important thing is you’re shopping the eco-friendly way. You can host a clothing swap any time of year, but it may be most convenient to plan it at the start of a season when most people switch out their cold- and warm-weather items.
Start Choosing Eco-Friendly Fashion
You can care for the environment and make eco-friendly choices in many practical ways. The first step toward sustainable living can be your fashion choices, so put these tips into practice to join the green fashion movement.
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!
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