Americans throw away nearly 11.3 million tons of textile waste each year? That equates to roughly 2,150 pieces of clothing per second. Synthetic fabrics used in fast fashion account for one-fifth of all the plastic produced globally, exposing us to forever chemicals and filling the oceans with microplastics. The average American only wears a garment 7-10 times before throwing it away. Only a very small percentage of discarded clothing is re-used or recycled.
Below are some tips to help you shop smarter, lengthen the life of our clothes and commit to brands who put the welfare of their employees and the planet first.
Do’s and Don’ts of Donating
DO imagine you are donating to a family member- items should be clean, undamaged and not too worn out
DO take into account the season- no puffer coats in the summer!
DO check for shoe & clothing recycling bins in your community for items that cannot be donated
DON’T forget to check what items they do not accept- these will be sent to the landfill/incineration (**Stuffed animals are not accepted in many places)
DON’T leave donation bags out in the elements if the roadside bin is too full
Downcycling at Home
Downcycling– the recycling of an item to a lower status, quality and function than the original product
Nice t-shirt: downgrades to workout gear, PJ’s, kid’s art smock
Pants too short = cut-offs!
Stained & damaged items: turn them into rags, pet towels, scraps for crafting/ repairing
Out of style dressy item: add to the kid’s dress-up bin
Tips for Washing your Jeans
Jeans only need to be washed every 10 wears
Wash jeans inside-out on cold water cycle
Air dry jeans and they will last much longer
Spot clean any areas with water and gently blot with a lint-free cloth, don’t rub
Between wears, hang jeans somewhere they can air out
Need a fancy outfit for a one time event? Consider borrowing from a friend, heading to a thrift store or using a service like Rent the Runway
Wear your clothes more than once before washing. Yes, this is okay if they have not been soiled. It helps preserve your clothing.
Wash in cold water. This not only helps maintain the fabrics but also cuts down on energy use in your home.
Natural Fabrics to look for: Cotton, wool, rayon, viscous, tensel