Many clothing companies are doing all they can to make sure their products are as eco-friendly as possible. For example, ‘ASOS‘ range is made up of 34% sustainable fibres. But how can you, as a consumer, ensure that the clothes you wear are in line with your goals to make the planet a greener place? Here are five things you should bear in mind:
When shopping for a new outfit, checking the label to see what the clothes are made of can make all the difference. Although natural fabrics tend to be better than synthetic, materials like cotton use a huge amount of pesticides and fertilizers as well as lots of water when being produced. Fabrics that need little energy and water include:
Bamboo – This plant grows quickly and doesn’t need pesticides to keep it healthy. However, bamboo needs some harsh chemicals to be turned into clothing, so you should ideally look for ‘bamboo linen’ which has none.
Linen – Produced from flax, it’s a common alternative to cotton that uses less energy and resources. It can also be easily recycled and composted.
Hemp – Very easy to grow, hemp is an up and coming eco-friendly fabric. Because it’s illegal to grow in many countries, it can be more expensive to import, which also adds to your carbon footprint.
When buying secondhand clothes you’re reducing your resource consumption by reusing other people’s outfits. Fast fashion has huge environmental consequences , so by buying other people’s clothes you’re not contributing to this throw-away culture. The higher the demand for fast fashion and new clothes, the more clothes will be produced and end up in landfill. There are plenty of clothes to go around that have already been made, so make sure you stop by your local charity shop and support a good cause at the same time.
Although this can be difficult to do on a budget, investing in quality materials will mean your clothes will last longer and you’ll throw fewer fabrics away. This again combats the fast-fashion industry and could, in time, force large brands to slow down as the demand will drop if consumers are keeping their clothes longer.
Choose your companies wisely
Some companies are more committed than others to looking after the planet. Make sure you read the ethics and sustainability policy on their website and look for news articles for concrete evidence of good work they’re doing. Whether it’s a commitment to recycling or only using organic fabrics, there are plenty of brands to choose from who shun harmful practices and pay their workers a fair wage.
Donate and recycle
Just like buying your clothes secondhand is a good idea, giving the clothes you no longer want to charity shops or selling at a car boot sale is equally good for the planet. If you have clothes too worn to go to charity, don’t throw the fabric away, find a recycling facility that will turn it into industrial materials or make sure it’s disposed of responsibly.