Clothing is never really a part of our lives we think about getting rid of, only getting more of. We now have the world of fashion splayed out under our fingertips, and with the promise of free delivery and looking like the new Cara Delevigne hung in the air, why wouldn’t we spend over £60 on those new Chelsea boots and chokers (you were going to anyway, right?).
But what do we do with the rest of our wardrobe? Well we keep it all of course.
It’s estimated that women only wear 70% of their wardrobe, meaning there’s 1.2 billion unused items scattered throughout the country; this all sounds ridiculous at first, until you actually look. Sure there’s woollen knitted jumpers and skimpy playsuits we’re going to keep for appropriate times of year, but there are hoards of clothes haunting our dressers and draws we’ve simply gotten used to seeing.
I took a critical eye to my own clothes, and in one fell swoop I whipped out all of these bad boys:
It may not look like much, but it was enough to fill three bin bags, and I could have gotten even more if I was going to be completely unsentimental about everything. The fact it was all sitting their like a pile of lonely lemons isn’t bad for the environment per se, but how they got there definitely is.
The average UK household spends £1,800 a year on clothing, which includes the energy and money put towards washing them; this equates to 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions from both new and existent clothing. To put that into perspective, the same amount of green house gasses is made from taking a road trip from London to Hong Kong in a car (6,000 miles give or take).
So ok, the damage for most of us is already done, but what do we do now? … Ciao trousers that never fit! Goodbye unsupportive bra! My planet and boobs deserve better.
If you’re going to unleash your unwanted garments unto the world, please, do not through them directly into the bin. Our landfill sites are set to bursting, and no matter how much your clothes may be falling apart, they won’t biodegrade.
Go those few extra meters from the kitchen bin to the boot of your car, and take a trip to the green charity clothing bins next time you’re at your local supermarket. Your unwanted hoodies could go to raise revenue for charities, or be sent abroad to keep those in developing countries snug and warm. Even the garments that can’t be used for reselling or rehoming can be shredded and broken down for stuffing sofas, mattress and all kinds of upholstery. You can of course try to sell your beloved LBD’s, but from past experience, the money you make back on it barely covers the packaging and sending it, you’ll make on average barely enough for a Freddo.
I’m definitely going to look for into buying clothes responsibly, because it seems that with all the good will in the world that comes with recycling your clothing, the one of the main contributors to CO2 is buying it all in the first place. Don’t let your unloved garments go to waste, give them a second life and recycle them: the planet and your mind will thank you for it.