Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Clothing Edition

You’ve heard about how straws, plastics, and meat overconsumption effects the planet but were you aware of the effects of fast fashion?

Did you know: The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined.

That’s a shocking statement. Many people don’t realize the effects that clothing have on our planet and the carbon footprint we’re actually leaving behind. So how is this happening?

  • Clothing production has roughly doubled since 2000
  • People bought 60% more garments in 2014 than in 2000, and they only kept the clothes for half as long
  • 85% of textiles go into landfills per year
  • The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions.

Not to mention, many workers in fast fashion must perform in dangerous conditions. Many of these workers are young or even underage women being paid unlivable wages. Many fast fashion companies exploit their workers and according to a study by an Oxfam 2019 report, it was found that 0% of Bangladeshi garment workers and only 1% of Vietnamese garment workers earned a living wage.

What can you do? Be a mindful shopper

  • To be a more mindful shopper, ask yourself these questions.
  • Do I just want it because it’s cheap?
  • Can I purchase this secondhand?
  • How many times will I wear this?
  • Will this last me 30+ washes?
  • Is this a timeless piece?

Research the brands

Use websites like Ethicalconsumer for the resources necessary to making mindful consumerism decisions.  To make effective decisions, find out things like:

  • Where are the materials sourced?
  • Do they use recycled packaging?
  • Is their processing environmentally friendly?
  • How are their workers treated?

Also, check for labels and certifications. Some popular ones include BluesignUSDA Organic, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Shop secondhand and donate old clothing

Secondhand shopping is a sustainable way to purchase clothing while also maintaining a budget. If you can’t visit a secondhand store in person, consider companies like ThredUp.

ThredUp is a free online consignment store that allows you to ship your old clothing to be sold secondhand with a percentage of profit going back to you. You can choose to have money transferred to your account or put towards a new clothing piece off their website.

Any items not sold will be donated and recycled.

Saving a little bit of money through fast fashion may seem more than worth it, but the future of our planet is the true cost of fast fashion shopping. It’s time to practice sustainability in the closet.

By Meagan Brown

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