84% of used clothing ends up in landfills every year. The remaining 16% is either shipped, resold or donated. This clothing in landfills only adds to the pollutant gases in the air as clothes emit methane when it decomposes. Experts predict that a lot of clothing waste is going to accumulate the landfills given the fast-changing fashion trend that is ongoing. Consumers are buying clothes to keep up with fashion and discarding them after a short time. There is also the issue of the quality of clothing as it has deteriorated over time. A decade ago, clothes were designed to last an extended period and when donated or re-used, they would still last long. As such, while most of the clothing is donated, a significant percentage of it is disposed of due to poor quality. Many fashion houses have developed ways to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment. H&M, for example, a renowned fast fashion retailer has set up a textile recycling program and has managed to collect 40 million pounds of clothing globally. Consumers can also participate in reducing the amount of clothing waste for rubbish removal by acting in the ways highlighted below.
Donating and Reselling Items
Most of the clothing disposed of during rubbish removal can be recycled, re-used or re-worn. Many outlets have been set up to collect unwanted clothes in Clearbee bags. As such, consumers can resell clothing items to other consumers or consignment shops available online and locally. Alternatively, they can donate the clothing to online sites or take them to local non-profit organizations that resell items to community members. Be sure to resell or donate clothes to reputable organizations that promote recycling. H&M, for example, does not believe in throwing away clothing that does not meet its quality standards. Such clothing waste is sent to textile recycling partners or third-party sellers for upcycling.
Buy Quality Clothing
With more secondhand clothing in the system and lots of poor quality garments scheduled for resale, recycling efforts may be on the brink of collapse. While low-quality clothing can be down-cycled into rags and other items, such things end up in landfills. As such, buying few and high-quality clothing makes a more effective means of reducing clothing waste during rubbish removal.
Swapping Clothing with Friends
While recycling garments minimizes the environmental impact, it requires significant amounts of resources in the form of energy and water to produce new clothes. Swapping extends not only the life of the clothing but also reduces the resources required for recycling. You can create a clothing exchange with friends to help declutter and refresh your wardrobe. Arrange a party where each friend brings clothes that he or she no longer wears and trades it in with friends. Every person ends up with ‘new’ clothes without adding to the landfills. Arranging for a community clothing exchange has a great impact on the environment. When arranging for the event, develop rules on how the swap will work and create a plan on how to donate the remaining items. If planning for a post-event, be sure to store the items in a Clearabee bag to avoid littering the neighborhood.
The popularity of DIY online blogs like Pinterest have made refashioning of the clothing pretty easy. You can now re-design old clothing into new and fashionable garments, saving you the cost of buying new ones. A pair of bootcut jeans can be transformed into skinny jeans while a faded T-shirt can be used a pajama top.
Rediscover Your Closet
A new coat, dress or shirt can brighten your day or season as can the discovery of an old garment. Solid pieces at the back of the closet can help boost your wardrobe without spending money. Instead of taking them to a rubbish removal site, mix them with other garments for a fresh look.