In a previous post, we provided several tips on how to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. And on the list of things to do to achieve this, we recommended adopting sustainable fashion. Learning how to be sustainable when shopping for new clothes is crucial because the fashion industry is a major contributor to global pollution, including air, water, and land pollution. It also endangers some wildlife species and is responsible for large amounts of water wastage.
Since clothing is one of our basic needs as human beings, it is important to discover how to be sustainable when shopping for clothes, taking care of them, and disposing of your old ones. In this post, we shall give you several tips to help you adopt sustainable fashion so you can do your part to reduce pollution and combat global warming and climate change.
How to Be Sustainable When Shopping for New Clothes
- Boycott animal-derived materials
Clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, and many more products made from animal parts such as the skin, fur, feathers, shells, bones, or even teeth lead to the suffering and death of billions of animals every year. While these materials are biodegradable, they endanger some wildlife species, and their production process also causes pollution.
If you want to learn how to be sustainable when shopping for clothes, boycotting such animal products should be one of the things you start doing. When the demand for animal-derived materials such as leather, wool, silk, and fur goes down, clothing brands will have no choice but to stop using them.
Luckily, animal rights organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been mobilizing consumers to boycott these animal products. Moreover, many major clothing brands have taken a stand against animal cruelty and stopped using animal-derived materials.
- Donate your old clothes
What do you do with your old clothes when you want to buy new ones? Perhaps you have either lost or gained weight, and thus, your current clothes are too big or too small. Or, maybe you just want to change your style or get new clothes. Perhaps the clothes you have currently bring up unpleasant memories, and you want to get rid of them.
According to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), textiles make up to 5.8% of the garbage found in landfills. As such, if you are learning how to be sustainable when shopping for clothes, finding a good way to get rid of your old outfits is crucial.
One of the best things you can do is to give your old clothes away, for example, to your siblings, charity organizations like Goodwill, or other people in need such as the homeless on the street and poor people. Your generosity will be highly appreciated.
- Repair instead of buying or throwing away
Many of us jump at the chance to go shopping for new clothes whenever our old ones become worn out or torn. But, you should not always do that as it increases the amount of textile garbage going into landfills. Instead of throwing them away and purchasing new ones, you can repair most of these damaged clothes and wear them again.
If you want to know how to be sustainable when shopping for new clothes, making a habit of pausing to assess just how much you need to buy instead of repairing your old garments is vital. Not only will you save the money you would have used to purchase new outfits, but also the planet by reducing the amount of waste you would have produced by throwing away your damaged clothes.
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- Buy clothes that work for all seasons
If you come from a part of the world that experiences the four seasons, winter, summer, fall, and spring, you probably buy new clothes to be comfortable in each type of weather. But this is wasteful as you will likely have too many garments that you rarely wear or have to throw out at the start of a new season when you can no longer wear them.
When learning how to be sustainable when shopping for new clothes, start buying versatile clothing options that will be suitable for any weather. You can even go a step further and choose clothes with a timeless style instead of going for the latest fashion trends, which, in most cases, look dated after a short time.
- Repurpose your old clothes
Plenty of clothing materials end up in landfills, while there are so many other ways they can be reused or repurposed. The sad thing is that some of these clothes were not even old or damaged but may have been thrown into the trash just because the owner wanted some new outfits. If you want to know how to be sustainable when shopping for new clothes, you should always consider all the alternative ways you can use your old clothes before throwing them away.
For example, you could repurpose your old clothes by turning them into napkins, duvet and cushion covers, shorts, decorations, or a purse, among other useful creative items. Finding alternative ways to use your old clothes will reduce the waste you produce, even if you have to buy new clothes.
- Stop buying too many clothes
Think about your closet; how many clothes do you have in there that you rarely or never wear? Many of us have the bad habit of purchasing more clothes than we need right now, thinking that we may need them someday or extras just in case something happens to what we already have. At other times, we may also want to own the latest trending outfits just to have them due to the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) on fashion trends.
Most of these extra clothes end up just lying in your closet because you never wear them, and you may eventually throw them out to make room for more new ones. So, learn how to be sustainable when shopping for new clothes and start buying only the number of outfits you need instead of wasting money on unnecessary things.
- Purchase from eco-friendly clothing brands
Besides the cruelty and pollution involved when producing animal-derived clothes, the apparel industry negatively impacts the environment in many more ways. Experts report that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions from the production and distribution of items. Furthermore, it dries up water sources and contaminates them.
Luckily, some clothing brands have chosen to be eco-friendly by boycotting animal-derived products, building their factories in areas away from any critical species, using renewable energy, choosing non-toxic dyes and detergents, and opting for quality, long-lasting fabrics, among other measures. If you are learning how to be sustainable when shopping for clothes, you should research clothing brands before purchasing items from them to ensure they are ethical and eco-friendly.
- Buy secondhand clothes instead
As mentioned earlier, the production and distribution of new clothes contribute to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, many people get rid of their old clothes by either burning or throwing them in the trash.
It is vital to learn how to be more sustainable when shopping for clothes and try to reduce the environmental impacts of the fashion industry by choosing to buy used clothes over new ones. Not only will you help the environment by saving valuable resources and reducing pollution, but you will also save money because pre-loved clothes usually cost less than new ones and have proven quality.
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- Buy quality durable clothing
Many of us go for cheap clothes without considering their quality because we want to save money. But as the saying goes, cheap is expensive. Choosing inexpensive items over those of good quality, especially if you can afford them, is a sign you have a broke person’s mindset. You will likely have to throw them away and find replacements as they will not last long, hence end up spending more money.
Instead of opting for cheap, learn how to be sustainable when shopping for new clothes and always choose good quality garments. They will be durable; hence, reducing the number of times you have to get rid of your old clothes and buy new ones.
- Consider the actual cost of the clothes
How often do you think about the environmental impact of the fashion industry when doing clothes shopping? Most of us only check the displayed price and purchase the clothes without thinking much about their true cost. But, if you want to learn how to be sustainable when shopping for clothes, you should start considering how much it costs to produce, distribute, and eventually dispose of the items instead of focusing on the price you see on the tags.
When you think about the true cost of fashion, from how it affects the people who make the outfits to how it impacts the planet, you will be more conscious when deciding which clothes to buy and which ones to forgo. Ensure you do this for both cheap and expensive garments.
We only have one planet, and it is up to all of us to ensure the available resources continue existing for future generations. Learning how to be sustainable when shopping for clothes is one of the steps you can take to reduce pollution, and hence, global warming and climate change. Hopefully, the sustainable fashion tips we have provided above will help you whenever you are deciding to shop for new clothes and what to do with your old ones.
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