Sustainable Style: Shopping with the Environment in Mind
Written by Sadie on February 6th 2020
Every day we get dressed, maybe try on a few outfits before choosing the one, then go on with our day. But have you considered how that piece was made? From excessive amounts of water to fabrics lined with harmful plastics, you may be surprised to learn that the clothing you wear contributes to the environmental footprint in multiple ways.
When people think about environmentally harmful industries, oil, transport, and coal typically come to mind. However, according to World Bank, the fashion industry accounts for up to 10 percent of all global carbon emissions annually. Along with this, the clothing industry annually uses 93 billion cubic meters of water and half a million tons of plastic microfibers which then find their way into our oceans. If the consumption of clothing continues to proceed at its current rate, these statistics will continue to grow, which ultimately does more harm to our environment.
Whilst these statistics are alarming, there are many ways in which consumers can avoid assisting in this negative division of the fashion industry. Here are some helpful tips to shop sustainably:
Before You Buy, See What You Have
According to Common Objective, a shocking 82% of all discarded clothing ends up in landfills or is burned. Consider what you already have in your closet and ask yourself if you can repurpose it. An old t-shirt can be turned into a reusable grocery bag (learn how here), or jeans with holes can be patched with scraps of fabric (learn how here). Instead of throwing away clothing, try getting creative and revive your old pieces into something completely new. With a little ingenuity, you’ll be reinventing your closet in no time.
Buy Only What You Need
It is important to only purchase clothing you truly need. The fashion industry is notorious for encouraging mindless spending and needless purchases. With the rise of fast fashion, it is easier than ever to buy new clothing quickly and on a whim. However, it is the clothing from these impulsive purchases that end up in landfills. Instead of buying clothing impulsively, try to limit your spending to only the items you need. This will not only help save the environment, but will also save you money as well.
Perhaps the easiest (and most affordable) way to shop sustainably is to buy clothing secondhand. If you have a thrift store near you, it’s worth stopping by and seeing what items they have. You can often find great clothing for an affordable price. As a bonus, you are recycling used clothing that would otherwise go to waste. If you find there aren’t any near your area, you can always browse online resale platforms to see if you can find stylish and affordable clothing there.
Buy New From Sustainable Brands
If you decide to buy new clothing, try to purchase from companies who limit their environmental impact. You can visit a brand’s website to see if they have a clear sustainability plan. Along with this, there are many organizations that evaluate the sustainability of fashion companies, such as Good on You. With tools like these, you can see how sustainable these brands are before you purchase from them.
With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a sustainable closet one piece of clothing at a time.
For more tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint, read our article here.