12 Ways To Lower Your Carbon Footprint For Clothes

Every little thing helps, and every effort adds up — if we do it collectively.

Photo by Artificial Photography on Unsplash

1. Love what you have

When it comes to the negative environmental impacts of clothes, the best action could simply be no action — don’t buy, don’t throw, maintain the status quo.

2. Consider a capsule wardrobe

Over-consumption is the main reason we’re generating so much clothing waste these days. We buy more than we need, like them less than we thought, and end up with more waste than we expected.

3. Choose quality over quantity

Have you ever visited vintage clothing shops? I marvel at how good some pieces still look. Clothes were made better back then. That’s why they can last decades and hold their shape.

4. Shop Secondhand

Since the market is saturated with clothes as it is, secondhand clothes shops are the best replacement for the clothes shopping experience.

5. Choose natural fibers

Natural fibers include cotton, wool, linen, silk, hemp, and jute. Though they have varying degrees of carbon footprints, they’re biodegradable and doesn’t contribute to microfiber pollution.

6. Be picky about the products you buy

We’re consumers, we hold the buying power that decides a companies’ profit. Vote with your money and make companies accountable for their practices.

Organic Certification

Whether it’s cotton, hemp, or linen. Organic-certified raw materials are better for the environment. Organic farming is better for the soil crops are grown on, causes less groundwater pollution, and has lesser negative effects on farmers’ health.

Fair-Trade Certification

To prevent buying from companies that exploit their employees, always choose fair-trade certified products. Apart from preventing unfair wages, fair-trade certification also requires companies to be environmentally responsible too.

Ethical Animal Products

If you’re buying something that came from an animal, be on the lookout for ethical certification. Animal cruelty is rampant in industrial-scale operations and we should prevent that too!

7. Change the way you wash your clothes

  • If an item of clothing doesn’t smell and isn’t stained, consider wearing it again
  • Wash full loads of laundry for the highest energy and water efficiency. If you’re not sure how much laundry is a full load, read this nifty article
  • Wash clothes at cool setting — you’ll cut your energy use by more than 50% than if you use a hot water setting
  • Line dry when possible
Photo by Kai Oberhäuser on Unsplash

8. Consider a swap party when you’re done with a piece. Or donate

When you’re done with a piece of clothing, whether because it doesn’t fit anymore, or you got tired of it, don’t toss it! If they’re still in good condition, consider organizing a clothes swap party with your friends.

9. Mend your clothes and wear them out

Extending the lifespan of your clothes is the best way to lower your carbon footprint without going out of your way.

10. Repurpose torn clothes if they can’t be donated

No matter how much we care for a piece of clothing, they’ll wear out someday. When they do, it’s time to get creative!

11. Recycle

Old clothes can be recycled into industrial cleaning rags, insulation foam, carpet, and so on. They hardly get recycled into new clothes because it’s a costly and difficult process. Clothes are usually made with blends of material and contain different dyes. These complicate the recycling process.

12. Don’t impulse buy

I’ve lost count of the number of times I walked past pretty dresses at fast-fashion shops and been tempted to buy them! They’re priced so that you don’t mind just buying it even if you don’t need it. Well, don’t. You’ll clutter up your closet in no time if you keep giving in to impulse buy.

Writer obsessed with keeping her life simple and footprints gentle. | www.darkbluejournal.com

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