5 ways parents can reduce their family's fashion footprint Writing

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As consumers become more and more environmentally friendlyOur cabinets often tell a different story.

The equivalent of a garbage truck with textiles and clothing is taken to a landfill or burned every second of the day. United Nations reported last year. And our demand for new clothes seems to be insatiable. "Since the 1960s, our garments have increased by 60 percent. The average customer in the US buys 64 garments a year – that's 1.2 garments a week, "says Sabine Weber, professor of sustainable fashion at Seneca College, noting that the trends in Canada are similar. "We buy clothes like food."

The fashion industry accounts for around 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and about 20 percent of global wastewater. This was the result of a recent UN study. Fast Fashion is responsible for most of these effects – more will follow. For example, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which works with businesses, governments and academia to create a more sustainable economy, each garment averaged about 200 times in 2004, but by 2016, that number had dropped to 140. And if so Continuing trends, the United Nations say we can by 2050 need almost three planets to provide the resources needed to sustain the current lifestyle.

I love fashion, but the true cost of clothing has replaced my enthusiasm for buying news. While some activists, like Extinction Rebellion, Call for a boycott in a quick way, this is not always an option for those who limited budgets, The perfect climate-neutral capsule wardrobe is out of reach for most Canadians. Fortunately, there are simple things we can all do to reduce our fashion footprint.

Change what you can

Now that the verb "to MacGyver" is in the Oxford dictionary, we've reached Peak DIY. After having two children, some of my clothes fit … differently, but I lack the time and skills. So I hired a seamstress to fit my jeans and change some shirts Still friendly, The cost can range from $ 10 to $ 30 for hemming and adjusting the waistbands and up to $ 75 for the more subtle trimming. While this may cost you more than buying a new item from a fast fashion retailer, it may also save you time if you do not have to go to the mall or if you're buying a substandard item that you'll need to replace again shortly.

Try a new shade on an old white shirt

Dipping – dyeing a part of a light garment to a darker hue – is another option. And you also do not have to rely on dyes purchased in the store. Dye fabric with avocado pits has a moment and spoiler: it turns fabric pink!

Wash it well, wear it more

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"We're taught to wash clothes between pieces of clothing – an idea that manufacturers of home appliances and cleaning products have come up with," says Elizabeth Cline, author of The conscious cabinetwho is committed to being right washing techniques, Investigations by the University of British Columbia's Sustainability Initiative have revealed that over a third of the microplastic Go to the oceans by washing textiles, Plastic fibers such as polyester or nylon blends account for 60 percent of the current fashion, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. When we wash them, tiny micro plastic fibers are released and get onto the waterways from our washing machines. A 2016 study showed that a single load of laundry is possible Release 700,000 fibersBut washing in cold water can prevent some of it. Energy star estimates that 90 percent From the energy of a washing machine goes out hot water, so by washing with cold water and the carbon emissions of our household is drastically reduced. Cline says we should dry in the clothesline and generally wash much less clothes Jeans can stay surprisingly clean even after one year wear without washing,

Swap instead of shopping

Clothing exchanges are another great way to refill your wardrobe without buying new items. Jackie Bischof, editor at Quartz, likes the fact that swaps give her permission to "try new things without guilt or financial problems." However, their swaps may be a bit more glamorous than mine. I have small children and work strange hours, so I organize informal backyard gatherings where parents bring their kids and we try things on our jeans. The pieces I've achieved, from my Wranglers to my Theory Blazer, are even sweeter because I've gotten them from friends.

Ultimately, Weber says, we need to find ways to reduce our fashion footprint that works for us – and they do not have to be time-consuming or expensive. Every day she commits to wear a vintage garment that is defined as an article that is 10 years or older. Laughing, she adds that 20 years are vintage vintage and 30 years vintage vintage vintage.

Recycle clothes properly

If a garment really "gives pleasure," what should we do with it? According to the United Nations 85 percent of the textiles end up in landfills or burned if most of these materials could be reused. When a garment reaches the end of its life, Calvin Lakhan, a York University researcher and co-investigator, asks in an innovative waste management project called Waste Wiki, "Who would want that?". He says we should ask, "How can we find value in this material?"

We should give our clothes as far as possible to family and friends. But if this is not the case, we can think of a personal reuse: it can be cleaning cloth? Fill pillow? Woven to a rug? But if this old T-shirt is really operational or our weaving skills are not enough, both Lakhan and Weber stress the importance of putting it in a clothes donor bin instead of the garbage.

But not all donation containers are the same. Textile recycling in Canada is arbitrary and managed by largely unregulated third parties.

You may have seen clothes donation baskets at your favorite fast-fashion store. Weber says that while we should criticize the business model as a whole, some businesses are "really trying to become more sustainable." For example, H & M dispensers are operated by a private company called i: Collect, which, according to Weber, extends the life of each garment by trying to find a market in Canada, such as Value Village. If this is not possible, it is sold to a sorter and either shipped overseas or broken down for industrial purposes such as automatic filling.

However, Lakhan points out that "much of the material that we believe we donate to needy families actually ends up in developing countries that do not even want our textiles." (Sometimes, he says, the clothes are flat. ) It only recommends that consumers donate, not to retailers, but to the donation baskets of charities or inpatient facilities. Donations to organizations like Kidney Clothes, for example, bring "positive social benefits," Diabetes Canada estimates 25 percent of its sales comes from donation containers.

Lakhan added that consumers in charities, unlike private companies, have the certainty that "the material is managed responsibly". Diabetes Canada has partnered with Value Village, which provides transparency at every step of the process. While they still ship overseas garments overseas, Lakhan says they deliver only to countries that actually want them.

And yes, you should even throw those old, perforated socks into the donation box. Weber says by putting everything In, consumers can send a message that the systems for real recycling of textiles need to be improved.

No single action will suddenly make the garment industry sustainable, so it's easy to feel powerless. In addition, responsibility can not be delegated to individuals alone – decision makers, manufacturers and retailers must also be strengthened. But as a consumer, we have the choice of whether our clothes last longer, reuse it creatively if they are no longer acceptable or give them responsibly. "There has to be more and more sustainability," says Weber. "We as customers need to ask for a better choice. But we also have to set our own rules. "

Continue reading:
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