Whether you shop for fun or out of necessity, it’s important to realize that every purchase has an impact on the environment. Fast fashion is responsible for around 10 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, which is a huge number that can be avoided by staying away from these retailers. You can still be fashionable while making conscious decisions that don’t increase your carbon footprint. When you consistently choose high-quality sustainably-made clothing, you’ll be able to wear your clothing longer and help the planet at the same time.
Want to become a more savvy eco-conscious shopper? These tips will get you started.
1. Always Look At Fabrics
Always take a peek at the labels to see what items are made of. This applies to all clothing and accessories that you buy, from work suits to skate shoes. The best materials are bio-based, like organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, etc. Even materials like cotton can have a large toll on the environment because of how much water they use during their processing, so with any garment, it’s essential to plan to wear it for a long time.
While you might like the look of a garment, that doesn’t mean that it is well made, or sustainably produced. Often, trendy items are made of synthetic materials like polyester that are not only cheap feeling, but also come at a cost to the environment. Synthetics can take hundreds of years to break down, which means that your garment will contribute to clogging landfills and polluting waterways long after you are done wearing it. The production of synthetics also usually requires toxic chemicals that are sometimes released into the air and water through runoff.
2. Try The One-In, One-Out Method
The easiest way to help the planet when it comes to your shopping is simply to shop less. One method of doing this that will scale back your wardrobe to only items that you truly love is the one-in, one-out method. As it sounds, this technique is where you only buy one new item if you are willing to give away one that is in your closet. This will keep you from buying excess clothing because you will need to consider carefully whether you like the piece you are buying more than an item you already own. You clearly won’t be able to buy clothing in bulk with this method.
3. The 30 Times Rule
Another method we recommend is to wear each garment or pair of shoes at least thirty times before considering giving it away or donating it. In order for an item to be worn this many times, it will need to be versatile, so keep this in mind when you are shopping. It should be able to fit seamlessly into your closet with many other outfits from the get-go. Never buy clothing with the intention to only wear it once.
4. Avoid Dry Cleaning
It is best to avoid items that require special care, like dry cleaning. You are less likely to wear these pieces often because you know that they will require extra treatment at a high cost to clean. Many dry cleaners also use toxic chemicals that are very bad for the environment. While there are some eco-friendly cleaners, they will likely be even more expensive.
5. Repair & Rewear
Are the soles of your favorite pair of shoes run down? Don’t throw them away! Take them to a cobbler, who can mend them and give them a second life. The same goes for clothing that has a rip or a broken zipper. If you can’t mend them yourself, take them to a tailor who can make the fixes and alterations so that you can keep wearing your garment.