Reducing Textile Waste

The apparel industry has been accused of being one of the most harmful global industries, not only because of the overwhelming presence of its products in the world’s landfills, but also because of the environmental impact of its manufacturing. Clothing production is an energy-intensive process that creates large emissions of volatile organic compounds and acid gases. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 13.1 million tons of textiles were trashed in 2010, crowding landfills and polluting the environment. 

The environmental impact of ‘waste couture’ certainly lasts longer than the products themselves; synthetic fibres don’t decompose, and although woolen fibres do, the process releases methane gas, contributing to global warming. 

‘Fast fashion’, like its culinary counterpart, provides consumers with temporary satisfaction and certainly isn’t overflowing with environmental benefits. When merchandise must be made as cheaply and quickly as possible, longevity is not a concern. One of the major contributors to a garment’s short life is the ever-changing styles that encourage enthusiastic consumerism. Cheap pricing further incentivizes shoppers to throw out their clothes and replace them with new trends.

There are, however, many ways to reduce waste and still keep your wardrobe fresh and fabulous. Invest in quality clothing that won’t come apart with wear, look into upcycled and recycled fashion, and try out some multi-purpose pieces. 

For example, EnCircled’s Chrysalis Cardi can be worn eight different ways, including as a gorgeous draped scarf or a stylish evening dress. This is an incredibly versatile piece that will keep both you and the environment happy.

To make sure your discarded garments don’t end up clogging a landfill, donate them to a charity that supports those in need. Alternatively, check out Eco Canada Textile Recycling, a Canadian company whose mission is to reduce textile waste and raise funds in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Being conscious of your environmental impact doesn’t have to take over your life. Being aware of how your garments were manufactured or choosing pieces that are of good quality can keep your wardrobe clear of fast fashion and lower textile waste sitting in our landfills. 

by Petranella Daviel