You surely know by now that the textile making process is energy and resource intense and demanding. A good portion of the textiles are ending up in landfills because majority of people still discard their garments. As a consequence this is becoming a key source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
With fast fashion your clothes quite likely will be outdated after less than a year. Even secondhand stores will reject items from fast-fashion brands, since inexpensive clothing often is of poor quality, with low resale value. And to be honest there’s just too much of it. So what can you do with all the clothes that you are never going to wear again? For example, just by giving them a new life you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint.
Make use of your old wardrobe = reduced carbon footprint
However, clothing and textiles are nearly a 100 percent recyclable. Even though the garbage can is way closer than the nearest recycling center, it's way better to donate your clothes, so they can be reused or recycled. If you donate the clothes you never wear you give them a new life with someone else. Or your old clothes could be used to create new pieces. Imagine your old clothes being used to create new ones. Pretty great, isn't it?
Additionally, by recycling clothes you probably won't wear again you are cutting down on the number of resources needed to produce new clothing and preventing more clothes from ending in landfills that are filling up. There are already mountains of discarded garments that end up in landfills. Your garments don't need to end up there.
Trashing clothes is also a huge waste of money since it costs millions of dollars annually to ship textiles to landfills and incinerators. Nationwide, a municipality pays $45 per ton of waste sent to a landfill. In New York City alone clothing and textiles account for more than six percent of all garbage, which accounts for 193.000 tons tossed annually, according to statistics from GrowNYC.
Make clothes and textiles a top-of-mind recyclable
People are more likely to throw their old clothes in the trash, and this problem is growing bigger and uglier every day. Only about 2 million tons, or 15.3 percent, of clothes are recovered for recycling annually. Put that in comparison to the 65.6 percent, or 46 million tons, of paper, according to EPA. An alarming situation considering the fact that it can take nature hundreds of years to decompose clothes and textile. When clothing isn't recycled it means more and more of it has to be produced. Which of course means more and more pollution.
The EPA states that clothes’ recycling today has an equivalent impact of removing one million cars from the nation’s roads. It is therefore clear that by making sure your old item is reused or recycled, you are having positive environmental impact.
So you and your pants can really make a difference. When you recycle, you conserve raw materials and natural resources. That means less materials and natural resources have to be extracted, refined, transported and processed, which results in less waste on the planet which lightens the burden on the earth. You also conserve the energy that’s needed in the manufacturing process. Less energy used means less needs to be generated, resulting in smaller carbon footprints and smaller amounts of greenhouse gases and emissions.
So next time you look at those holey pants or old sweaters – consider dropping it off at a recycling center or bin instead of tossing it in the trash.
Second hand to become first-hand choice in the future?
Imagine if brands start putting more focus on quality and less on low prices. This would mean higher value, longer lifespan for clothes and less waste. So you’ll be able to pass your clothes on to your daughter, sister and friends, and your clothes will last for years before being recycled. This would mean more value for you, the next generation and our planet.
At Dimmblá we make sure that none of the fabric off-cut – meaning all the fabric that is left after the design piece has been cut – are thrown away. Why waste beautiful fabric? We use it to make beautifully handmade accessories such as necklaces (see pic above). With small means we all can contribute and conserve natural resources.
Learn why not to buy clothes made of conventional cotton.