5 Ways We’re Reducing Our Wardrobe’s Environmental Impact This Year

by: Rosie Dalton | 3 weeks ago | Features

Image: Regenerative organic cotton via Patagonia. Image source.

The fashion industry has a direct impact on the environment. According to the United Nations Environment Programme and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, and at the current rate the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions will rise more than 50% by 2030. So here are five ways we’re reducing our wardrobe’s environmental impact. Join us, because small changes by many people can make a big difference.

1) We’re buying less

We’re following Vivienne Westwood's mantra of buying less, choosing well, and making it last in 2021. “A staggering one-and-a-half-billion pairs of jeans and cotton trousers are sewn in Bangladesh every year," says Lucy Siegle in her book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? So perhaps we don't need ten pairs of jeans, just one really good pair.

2) We’re buying sustainable

Conventional cotton takes up just 2.4% of the world’s cultivated land, but accounts for 6% of the world’s pesticide use and 16% of the world’s insecticide use. And virgin plastics are strangling the planet. We’re checking the materials tag and choosing sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and hemp instead.

3) We’re supporting brands with positive impacts

It’s not enough to just support brands that are minimising impacts anymore; we also need to support those that are actually having positive impacts on the environment. Take Patagonia, for example, whose efforts in terms of regenerative organic agriculture helps to increase the soil's organic matter from baseline levels, providing economic stability for farmers and creating resilient ecosystems and communities.

4) We’re extending the lifecycle of our clothing

"Doubling the useful life of clothing from one year to two years reduces emissions over the year by 24%,” according to Fashion Revolution. So we’re keeping our clothes in rotation for as long as possible. As Patagonia points out, “the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer."

5) We’re recycling properly

Australians discard 23kg of clothing per capita every year, which equals 6 tonnes of textiles being contributed to landfill every 10 minutes. Which is why recycling our clothes properly is crucial for the planet.

Wearable pieces can be donated, while there are textile re-use facilities for those that cannot be worn anymore. In Australia, SCRgroup diverts over 18 million kilograms of clothing from landfill every year, and is a great place to start when searching for re-use facilities.

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