Reduce your carbon footprint and re-use unwanted clothes.

id you know that it takes over 700 gallons of water to create one cotton t-shirt and over 2,900 gallons for a pair of jeans? With a life cycle of four years, a pair of jeans will produce 915 pounds of carbon dioxide including the processes involved to create them plus their use over time. Astonishing isn’t it? With facts like this it’s no wonder changes need to be made. So how can you help?

Make new clothes from old clothes.

It’s time to get creative! Half of the clothes that we buy end up in landfill so let’s start using what we’ve already got! Add embellishments to your clothes such as buttons and ribbons to update your wardrobe. Do you have an old shirt with an interesting pattern? Cut it up and add patches to other garments. Repair the clothes which have missing buttons or broken zips or take clothes that don’t fit to a tailor and have them adjusted or re-fitted. This means you can wear your favourite items again and again!

Buy Eco-friendly clothing.

Many companies create new clothes from old garments or from recycled goods such as plastic bottles and tin cans. Some major retailers have adopted the ‘eco-index’ policy which will give you more information on their products and values. Check the website and garment information of the clothing and the company to see what care the product needs. For example, choose items which will last longer, that can be hand washed in cool water and line dried. If an item requires dry-cleaning, check that the company uses eco-friendly methods and chemicals.

A little help from your friends.

Re-use what others have recycled! Shop at charity, thrift and vintage stores to re-use the items that are already out there. Use car boot and garage sales to your advantage and grab some great bargains and items for less. Who knows what hidden gems you might find? Any clothes you find you can layer with your own clothing or adapt to make them fit your personal style. Invite your friends round for a sleepover and have them bring their old clothes. Swap them with each other and pick up that dress you always wanted! 

Online shopping is another great way for buying second hand and vintage clothing. Traders use websites such as ASOS Marketplace, Ebay and Etsy to sell on their old clothes. Some of the boutiques that trade will have ethical and environmental principles so keep your eye open for these eco-friendly stores!

‘Age is an issue of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’ –Mark Twain.

The simple answer is to just keep using your old clothes! Purchase clothes which have long term durability and that can be re-vamped in the future and most importantly – don’t impulse buy! Check the quantity of clothes you already have and assess whether you need any more. Wear your clothes more times in-between washes to reduce the amount of waste produced from the washing machine, ironing and other processes. According to Wrap, if we extend the average life of the clothes we actively wear by three months, we can reduce the carbon and water footprint by 5-10%.

At the end of day, something needs to change. These are just a few ways you can help but there are many more out there. So have a look in your wardrobe now and see how you can make a difference to our environment. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find!