Clothes may not seem like the more wasteful item we own. After all, we wear them for a limited amount of time and then get rid of them. But are there more sustainable approaches to clothing that can waste less? And go with more environmentally friendly materials?
Consider purchasing previously worn clothing you can find in charity shops. They are sustainable because they have already been worn.
Charity shops take great care to clean donated clothing before they sell them. Clothing manufacturers do take a lot from the environment so going with second-hand clothes helps balance this out.
A few tips to make your clothing care more sustainable:
No need to wash your clothes every time you wear them
Ask yourself can I wear this again without washing it before dumping it in the washing machine. If it smells fine, then you can wear it again.
Modern materials are very clever and mean you don’t need to wash them every time you wear them unless there’s a stain or something specific that needs cleaning.
Line dry as much as possible
Dryers use a large amount of electricity and don’t always create the nicest smelling clothes. So, where possible, line your clothes indoors or outdoors and let the fresh air do the work for you. One tip is to use a little less detergent making sure they are rinsed well before hanging to dry.
Avoid dry cleaning
The worst way of cleaning clothes is dry cleaning, using loads of harsh chemicals and resources. Most clothes now don’t need dry cleaning so avoid it as much as possible. And when choosing clothes, look at the labels and aim for ones that are not dry clean only.
Do you have dry clean only clothes? If you get any stains on them, check to see if you can buy a spot treatment to apply when they happen to reduce the number of times you dry clean the item. A gentle hand wash with some liquid soap can often do a good job and leave them to air dry.
Use water-saving washers
When looking for a new washer, hunt down the ones that save the most resources – either power or water (or both). Front-loading washers are less water heavy and are gentler on the clothing – the fewer the washes, the longer the clothes last.
The other area you can consider is the actual material in the clothing. Some materials are more sustainable than others. Asos sell recycled clothing, so you could opt to buy from online stores like them.
Here are a few ideas:
Look at hemp
Hemp is one of the top sustainable materials because it doesn’t need a pesticide to grow or chemicals to process it into clothing. It is a highly renewable material and tops most lists of environmentally friendly fabrics.
Ethically produced clothing
Examples of ethically produced clothing are Vegan, artisan, local produce or organic. They are very sustainable and avoid pollution and animal testing. Often these clothes are well made and can last a long time, too.
Read up on cotton
Cotton is everywhere but not all cotton is equal. Look at the information on cotton and watch for ethically produced cotton that avoids chemicals and pesticides in its production.
These ideas show you can be fashion-conscious and still be sustainable. Clothing that has sustainable materials, washing them in sustainable ways and even using second-hand clothes. All the while, you can still have your look!