Protecting our planet with the clothes we wear
Whether you’re just starting out on your living with less plastic journey or you’re already a seasoned plastic-free advocate, we’re here to help you navigate the world of plastic-free fashion.
The fashion industry is well known to be one of the world’s most polluting industries, contributing to water, air and soil pollution. But did you know that the industry also has a HUGE plastic problem too? We know it can be overwhelming when trying to make the right choices when it comes to what we wear – especially when plastic in our clothes is usually pretty well hidden.
So we’re here to break it down and give you some simple tips to help you avoid filling your wardrobe with plastic – and invest in plastic-free fashion instead.
The hidden plastic in our clothes
Many of the clothes that we see in the shops are made from synthetic fibres, like polyester which is made from PET – the same stuff that makes up a plastic water bottle! It is estimated that by 2030, these synthetic fibres will make up 73% of all global fibre production. This plastic content in clothes means that the fashion industry is the 3rd largest user of plastic.
So, instead of dripping in fossil fashion, opt for clothes made from natural materials, like cotton or wool. Even better, look for organic cotton which uses 91% less water than conventional cotton. Win win!
A green wash
As our plastic clothes are cleaned, tiny fragments called microfibers are shed in the wash and end up in our waterways and oceans. An easy way to tackle this is simply to wash your clothes less! Do you really need to wash that pair of jeans or jumper after just a couple of wears? We’re in the habit of chucking yesterday’s clothes in the laundry basket but a lot of the time just airing your clothes will do the trick – they’ll last longer and save you money in the long run too!
Swap, don’t shop
A study by Fashion United found that people only wear 50% of the clothes they own. So not only do we buy a huge amount of clothes, most of which are made from plastic, we don’t even wear them when they’re in our wardrobe! By wearing what we already have, and swapping or sharing clothes instead of buying new, you can help keep new plastic out of your wardrobe and help reduce the demand for fast fashion.
So, the next time you think you need something new to wear, why not share the load and organise a clothes swap at work or with your friendship group instead? You can also get swishing! What is swishing we hear you ask! Well, Swishing works like a giant clothes swap: you bring items you no longer wear and exchange them for something new-to-you! There are also lots of local swap groups on Facebook and Meet Up.
Check out these fab apps that help you swap your garms without moving from your sofa!
The golden rule
If you are thinking of buying a new outfit, STOP. First ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’ Check your wardrobe, is there something you haven’t worn in a while lurking in the back? Could you buy something second-hand first? Or borrow something from a friend instead?
If you decide you are going to buy new, then ask yourself things like how will your purchase arrive? Is the packaging plastic-free? What is the item made from? And how is it made and by who? Is the supply chain exploiting workers? Right through from the people to the premises…are their factories powered by renewables? By asking these important questions, you can seriously consider your purchase, vote with your purse – and ultimately feel better in the clothes you wear knowing you’ve made the right choice for the planet and for you.