One of four clothing purchases made by citizens of Hong Kong end in the garbage after being used only once or twice. The most common reason is low quality or that the clothes didn’t fit. When people buy cheap clothes they care less. As a result millions of clothes end up in the landfill every year. Then how to select good quality clothes that we can wear for years and stop waste our money on garbage?
The culture of cheap clothes from low cost countries is supported with a high demand from customers. We are at a point where we buy more and more and have the tendency to keep clothes for a shorter period, which has a huge effect on the environment. It’s not until we start to buy responsibly that things start to change. If we choose to buy a sustainable product that has been made responsibly,' the entire supply chain will change, because the market rules. It is the customer who is the king. By extending the active life of your clothes and what you own, you as a consumer can get more use of your clothes. Extending the life of your clothes by just 3 months would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprint. Extending the average garment life up to three years could save $5 billion a year from the cost of resources used in clothes supply, laundry and disposal according to WRAP report (waste and resources action program). Without saying the life of your clothes relates to the quality of the clothes you buy.
When your clothes are worn out you can put them in the recycling so that the materials can be reclaimed and put back in the supply chain. This will reduce the water, carbon and waste footprint of garment production.
About one third of our clothes haven’t been worn for at least a year. Most commonly because they no longer fit. Buying clothing should be a long-term commitment, done with care and planning. While spontaneous purchases can be exciting, they often lose their splendour quickly, leading to that we throw away the garments.
So first plan and then buy what you really need and want. You’ll use it longer and then put it in the recycling or to charity. You can perhaps buy 2 or 3 pieces for the price of one piece in high quality, but on the other hand you’ll probably be more conscious about your purchase if you spend more on high quality. You keep it longer. In the end you spend the same amount or less on items you keep longer. Who wouldn’t want that?
It appears that we are paying for things that almost immediately go to the dump. If we continue to go shopping and expect to buy a dress for a few dollars then we might be aware that it’s not going to last us long. It’s mass produced at low cost. Also, it’s often made by factories that are cutting corners on safety and health, and that's not right, at low cost. To avoid this we can ask companies where the clothes are made to get engaged in where our clothes come from and who really made them. Let´s begin to be fair in how we value the clothes we want to buy and think about it as an investment. Is it reasonable to look for good quality and good style and not be willing to pay a higher price?
Remember that proper care of clothes prolongs their life and saves money and waste. With simple steps you can make your wardrobe green and friendly to the environment.
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