17th January 2023
Clothes and the fashion industry contributes about 10% of all global carbon emissions. These stem from the production of synthetic materials as well as the large footprint of growing cotton; shipping and manufacturing; and the trend towards fast fashion. People buy more clothes than ever but wear them less often. Barely worn clothes plus a large number of unworn clothes (those that have overnight become unfashionable) end up in landfill. With cheaply made clothes, replacement is cheaper than repair. As clothes are often made from a mixture of different material types, recycling is not straightforward and can be expensive.
But change can and is happening. Buying clothes that are made to last, maintaining and repairing clothes, rewearing or swopping clothes, buying from vintage and second hand sources, altering and adapting clothes to new circumstance, all helps to reduce the carbon – and environmental- footprint of what we wear.
I still wear a skirt that was my mother’s, a kilt which was second hand when I had it as a child, and my wedding dress (for dances not weddings!)
For more information –
29th January 2022
We can improve the sustainability of the clothes we wear by considering on how and when we wash them. Washing clothes uses significant amounts of water and energy. Often we throw clothes in the washing basket without considering whether they actually need washing. (There are some things like pants and socks that we might want to wash daily, but they are the exception). After one of two wears a shirt or jumper may not be dirty! Wooden jumpers do better if they are aired rather than repeatedly washed. If we only wash items when they are dirty , we will run the washing less often saving water and energy. We will save even more energy if it means using a tumble dryer less. If you can, air drying whether inside or outside, is preferable to using a tumble dryer.
30th January 2022
Upcycling is a popular way of extending the life of the clothes we wear. Trousers worn at the knees can become a pair of shorts. Flared trousers can be tapered, or straight trousers can acquire a flair. A plain T shirt can be embroidered with a pattern or a message. Skirts can be shortened – or lengthened if you add new material below the hem line. Dresses or trousers can become skirts. Sometimes it may involve downgrading – the pair of jeans that has patches on the knees and patches on the buttock area is likely to become useful gardening gear!