For my birthday I was given a gift voucher for a clothing shop. It was a really generous gift but I find myself struggling more and more with what I am buying especially with clothing.
Firstly because of the implications of who made my clothes (child/slave labour), followed by how did that production impact the planet ( it take 1,800 gallons of water to make 1 pair of jeans??) and for this topic what happens in a world where there is no 'away'? Where do our clothes go when we finish with them?
Now I know we can give to charity shops or donation bins and I love hand-me-downs and I encourage all of that but after that where do they go? and I really am looking for answers here?
When I was little I remember my mum coming home from a shopping trip. She had bought a new blouse. She loved it and I did not! I didn't like the feel of it and asked what it was made of? My mum said "Its 100% polyester" it will never wear away!
"It will never wear away" says it all....
Synthetic Polyester is Plastic so while we are all getting better at not buying food packaged in plastic and beginning to think about our beauty products are sold in, are we considering what our clothing habits are doing???
Yes I know that's massive but how many things in your wardrobe can you find that do not have synthetic polyester, spandex, lycra, elastane all plastic products, none of which are biodegradable. some of which cause the micro-plastics that are polluting our rivers and seas finding their way into wildlife and our own food chain. Zips, buttons, elastics, sequins, beads and glitter are all also mostly made of plastics. So once we are finished with our dresses or blouses or jumpers what can we do with them?
Maybe we need to re-think, are they really done? On a practical level we can start fixing and mending, keeping buttons and zips to use for adjustments. How many of us have that skill anymore? Do you now how to fix a zip or even replace a button? How many of us would go and get our clothing altered instead of buying something new? We could clothes swap? But even once we do all that all those clothes are still there.
What happens after?
Can we recycle clothing other than the above?
Plastic bottles have in recent years been recycled to make Fleece however its been proven that although this is great for recycling bottles and some of the fleeces can be re-recycled there is a structural breakdown in the product and again this product ends up in the water system from clothing being washed.
Other than this there is no other recycling option for synthetic polyester, spandex, lycra, elastane or other similar clothing materials.
What can we do?
We really need to move away from plastic products all together.
The biggest help is actually asking yourself first if you really need something new.
If yes can you borrow? buy second hand? rent?
Then if you are determined you need something new check the clothing labels before buying.
Even when something says Organic Cotton it isn't always so, for example when I went to buy socks last week the label said
Composition- 76% cotton, 22% polyamide and 2% elastane.
I don't really have any answers and this does not sound like the most positive post, we are being told at every corner we need to change or we will lose our world, everyday the realisation of human impact on the planet can push our guilt buttons and that is hard.
What I do know is we all want to do our bit so,
take your time,
read the labels,
ask yourself 'do I really need this?',
We cant avoid plastic but the little changes in our consumerism will impact on a bigger level.
The True Cost - Netflix
Any Thoughts, Hopes or Ideas would love to hear them.
My friends call me Love and this is a personal journey