Not a lot of people think of their clothing as important when making green choices for a sustainable lifestyle. But everything we do has an environmental impact, and that includes the outfit we choose every day. It is possible to get dressed in a stylish and eco-friendly way, it just requires a little thought.
A lot of the fabrics we use come from vegetable fibers, and that means pesticides, soil fatigue and other environmental harms caused by many crops. This is why it’s important to choose sustainable fabrics such as hemp. This is a highly productive crop, easy to cultivate and resistant to a lot of pests, so it needs no agrochemicals. Bamboo is another eco-friendly material that is fast-growing, low impact and uses little or no pesticides and fertilizers. Bamboo fabrics are naturally anti-bacterial and fast-drying, which makes them perfect for active wear. Another good fiber is linen, which is made from flax and requires less pesticides than cotton.
Traditional fabrics have their green alternatives too. For example, it’s possible to get organic cotton, that’s produced in a sustainable way. Organic wool is also a good choice, produced with ethical farming practices. The downside is that items made with these fabrics can be harder to get and you need to do your research, but they usually use no chlorine or harmful dyes when processed. Finally, polyester can be 100% recycled and some companies make fleece garments out of recycled plastic bottles.
Next time you go shopping, consider going to a charity shop first to browse second-hand clothing. You can find amazing items for really cheap, without adding to the waste of discarded clothing. You help the environment while you help your pockets, not bad. The best part is that, if something doesn’t fit you just right or you change your mind, you can always donate it back.
Instead of throwing away that sweater because it has a hole in the elbow, cover it with a stylish patch. Reuse, remake, repair and restyle your clothes instead of throwing them away and buying new ones. This is a great way to make sure your items always fit you perfectly and to cultivate your own unique style. Bonus points: you will save a lot of money. Taking that shirt in a few inches will cost you a lot less than buying an entirely new top.
Sometimes you need to throw away a pair of shoes that have walked one too many miles or that pair of jeans that is so worn down is falling apart. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get rid of unwanted clothing, but don’t let them go straight to the trash bin. In many recycling points, there are clothing and shoe banks where you can leave your unwanted garments, as long as they are clean and dry. If they can’t be reused as clothing, they will be recycled for fiber and become something else.