11 tips for greening the life cycle of your clothes | Popgen Tech
When I buy clothes, I focus more on how the clothes look than where they were made, what they’re made of, and what I’ll do with them when they wear out.
After speaking with Revital Nadiv, I realize that I will need to be more environmentally conscious in what I choose to wear.
Nadiv is the co-founder of Re-Fresh Global, an Israeli eco-business offering outreach and consulting in sustainable fashion innovation.
Clothing is a notoriously volatile industry. Consider these facts:
– It takes 1320 liters of water to make one pair of jeans.
– The average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing each year.
– Every year, clothing retailers throw away or burn 13 million tons of unsold items.
– About 60% of the materials used in the fashion industry are made of plastic.
– The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of carbon emissions, which is more than all international flights and sea transportation combined.
Re-Fresh Global has invented a biotechnological process for recycling textile waste as raw material for production. This brilliant project started in Israel and is now based in Berlin.
Realistically speaking, most of us will not become sustainable fashion superstars. But these tips from Nadiv can help us develop the skills to make greener wardrobe decisions.
1. Read the fine print
Several major retail chains, such as H&M and Mango, use recycled textiles in their clothing.
But to avoid being fooled by greenwashing, read the label carefully to see if the percentage of recycled material is significant enough for you to choose this product over another.
2. Check for the certification label
Several organizations certify fashion companies based on parameters including sustainability and how they impact the environment. Examples: B Lab, Cradle to Cradle Certified and OECO-TEX.
3. Consider quality
To extend the life of the item, choose quality materials.
“For example, Eileen Fisher uses mainly wool, which can be worn for a long time and can be recycled endlessly,” says Nadiv. Since 2009, the brand has also taken in more than 1.5 million items of clothing to resell, donate or repurpose into new items.
4. Select a structure to disassemble
Any item of clothing with lots of buttons, metal studs or zippers will end up in the landfill because it’s hard to recycle anything with all those accessories.
5. Natural is better
In general, the more natural a material is, the less impact it has on the environment because it is less toxic and easier to recycle.
However, this topic is complicated. For example, growing cotton typically uses a lot of water and pesticides, degrades the soil, and emits greenhouse gases. Sustainably grown organic cotton is a greener choice.
6. Buy local
Patronize local designers and makers. They can be transparent about the value chain of a product, starting with where it was sewn and under what conditions. In addition, the clothing has a smaller carbon footprint because it was not shipped from far away.
7. Rent, not buy
If you need an expensive dress or suit for a special occasion, go to an online clothing rental platform (like this one or this one ) instead of going to a retail store.
Another alternative: “Some stores allow you to buy clothes overnight, return them the next day and get 85% of your money back,” says Nadiv.
8. Shop second hand, thrift and vintage
Before buying anything new for yourself or your child, see if you can find a new version of what you’re looking for.
In addition to regular stores, you can join local second-hand Telegram and WhatsApp groups, or download a second-hand app where you’ll earn tokens for in-app purchases.
You’ll save money, and gently used clothing will be saved from landfill or incineration.
9. Organize a swap
If you’re tired of an item of clothing or accessory, or it no longer fits, trade it instead of throwing it away.
Host a clothing swap party for your friends, or download a local clothing swap app where members create digital closets for other people to view.
10. Repurpose your old form
Many people go to work in uniform. Once a uniform is worn out, there are few options other than throwing it away. Nadiv suggests finding a company that accepts forms for textile recycling.
“There are more than 20 startups in the world today, including ours, that are repurposing textiles,” she says.
11. If you can’t sell or give it away, repurpose it
Some used items can be donated to charities. Others, such as socks and underwear, or items of clothing in poor condition, will not be accepted by charities and will end up being buried or burned.
If possible, repurpose them. Use holey socks as washcloths. Give scraps of an old dress new life in a craft project like a patchwork quilt or a rag doll. Cut out the stained areas of the shirt and use the rest as a scarf or tie.