Take it from someone who loves to shop — building a fantastic and versatile wardrobe is super fun and helps you express your individuality. There is a certain thrill to finding a great deal or bringing that special piece home with you.
That being said, our footprint on the planet is a very real thing. The decisions that we make in our everyday lives can negatively affect our environment. That includes how and where you choose to shop. But never fear! There are exciting ways to keep your wardrobe interesting and fresh while still protecting our earth. Keeping the famous “3 R’s” in mind will remind you to put the planet first every step of the way. Here’s how to get started.
Reduce Your Shopping Habit
This one seems simple: Reduce the amount of clothing that you buy, and there will be less clothing in the ecosystem. For those who love to shop, this can be a bit of a bummer. You don’t have to stop cold turkey, but start making mindful choices about how and where you spend your money. Making purchases on versatile, well-made staple pieces is fine — especially if they’re coming from an eco-friendly brand.
Did you know that the fashion industry is second only to big oil in regards to how much it pollutes our earth? When you’re thinking about purchasing that $5 tank top, consider the true cost of the item. Do you really need it, or do you just have the urge to shop? Considering your shopping habits as a whole can help you reduce the amount of waste you’re contributing to and saves you a little bit of money in the process.
Let Someone Else Reuse Your Clothes
Do you have great clothes in fabulous condition that you’ve outgrown or just don’t wear anymore? Consider reselling them for a little extra cash and a big hug to the planet. Whether you head to your local consignment shop or go through an online retailer, there are tons of options for getting your gently loved clothes into the hands of someone who can appreciate them and give them new life.
This goes for the reverse as well. If you get a hankering for something “new,” head to the thrift shop or hop online to your favorite secondhand site. Rather than shopping at the mall, find something in style and on trend that doesn’t leave a negative impact on the environment. As a bonus, you get the same thrill of something new (to you) without a high price tag!
Get Creative About Recycling
It may feel good to bring a bag of clothes to a donation center, but did you know that a good portion of donated clothes either end up in landfills or shipped in bulk overseas? In all likelihood, if you’re donating clothes that are stained and ratty, they’re more likely to end up in the trash than on the rack. Consider the quality of your items and the manpower that it takes to sort all the clothing that gets donated on a daily basis when you’re packing up your things. If the item you’re about to donate won’t make someone else happy, start thinking outside the box.
There are so many ways you can recycle or repurpose worn-out clothes around the house. Kids love to do arts and crafts, so use old tees as makeshift smocks. Alternatively, you can cut out your T-shirts’ designs and sew them into a colorful quilt. Old scarves can become drop cloths for painting, and just about any item of clothing can be cut into rags to be used instead of paper towels. Get creative with the things you have around the house, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can keep out of the landfill.
It can be invigorating to build your wardrobe without buying new, especially once you’re aware of how impactful your fashion choices can be. Feeling empowered to make smart decisions and then encouraging others around you to do the same will make you not only a more mindful inhabitant of the Earth, but also a super-savvy fashionista of substance.
Amanda Light has a passion for finding new ways to be green. She writes for thredup.com, an online thrift store, about being fashionable without affecting your carbon footprint.
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