Our Current Problem
According to the EPA, in the US, approximately 17 million tons of clothing and other textiles entered the landfills in 2017. Textiles left rotting release methane gas and CO2 into the atmosphere, further accelerating the effects of climate change. Fashion trends and poorly made products are to blame for our need to consume.
Most clothing can be clean or fixed as non-repairable items can be upcycled into new products, and recycling should only be the last option.
Extending the life of good clothing
The image above depicts donations received by one local thrift store in a city of approximately 1 million residents. Thrift stores, inundated by the volume of donations sparked by Marie Kondo's trend, as her followers rushed to minimize clutter without changing their pattern of consumption.
Hand Wash Only Co's mission is to keep good clothing in circulation; selling on the Poshmark App, some flawed items require mending and cleaning. Care instructions packaged with sold items ensure to help extend their life span.
Upcycle: giving new life
Most clothing does not always have good resell value. As shallow as it sounds, trends and brand names are essential, with luxury items being the most coveted, retaining the highest resell value. In the past, African countries purchased most unsold clothing, but many are refusing to accept textile waste from the west. By applying a process called Upcycling, one can find a new purpose for these preloved items.
Making home products
Since the invention and the mass production of plastics, humans have found themselves overwhelmed by the sheer number of plastic waste choking and killing wildlife. Making reusable tote bags through upcycling is the most sustainable option. Conventional cotton tote bags are more harmful than people realize. The ever-thirsty cotton plant takes over 30,000 liters to create 1 kg of cotton. One cotton shirt uses approximately 2,700 liters of water. Not to mention, the dyeing process can pollute waterways. Growing cotton requires the use of harmful pesticides, and the runoffs continue to harm wildlife and the farming community. (source)
Upcycled Boyfriend Denim pillowcases
Made sustainably with old unwanted jeans, rescued textiles and recycled fabrics.