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The Five Rs of Fashion

Date
Feb, 20, 2019

The clothing industry is the third largest polluter in the world and second in water use. Up to 2,000 different harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, chlorine, lead and mercury are used to produce textiles. Most of the chemicals are used for the dyeing process.

The sad part is that most old clothes and textiles will end up in a landfill eventually. About 11.1 million tons of textiles such as t-shirts, pants, blankets, tablecloths, sheets and baby clothes are thrown into the trash and then into landfills in the U.S. each year.Now, if building a sustainable wardrobe is your goal, then practicing the 5Rs of fashion is a great way to begin reducing your carbon footprint because you have to be more mindful of your consumption and waste of clothes.

Here are the 5Rs of Fashion:

Reduce—It’s perfectly possible to achieve a high fashion look with less. One great way to do so is to invest in a capsule wardrobe. It’s a compact wardrobe consisting of around 30 or fewer high-quality staple pieces in coordinating or matching colors. This includes shoes and sometimes accessories. It’s a minimalist principle of fashion that saves money, the planet, space and time. Looking fabulous with a minimal wardrobe and less waste is an eco-friendly way of living.

Reuse—This one, of course, is easy: you simply say no to buying more clothing, but the truth is that it’s difficult to do that. We all want to look good — and we still can, even when saying no. First, make sure to buy quality over quantity so clothes will last longer. Second, take extra care of your clothes by washing them in water of the right temperature, hanging them to dry, and taking care of stains right away. Doing this will help make your clothes last for a very long time.

RecycleWhen pieces of clothing are no longer wanted, dont throw them away. You have a couple of options. First, try selling your unwanted but still good clothing. (I have sold lots of my clothes on Ebay and to local second-hand stores.) Second, donate! Your clothes might be just perfect for someone else.

The third option involves your old, stained and ruined textiles. Take a moment to research where you can recycle them, and keep them out of the landfill: ruined and stained textiles do not belong there. Currently, textiles account for 5.2% of the waste in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person discards 70 pounds of clothing per year, despite the fact that there are recyclers who accept all fabrics in various conditions. On Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, you can find your nearest drop-off location. As well, at Recyclenow.com,you also can find the nearest textile recycling bin. A wonderful company, Terracycle’s whole business is to recycle and upcycle old stuff, so you can order a box for textile recycling from them. Nike and H&M also collect old worn clothes for recycling.

Blue Jeans Go Green—This program collects denim across the country and recycles the worn fabric into insulation. The Blue Jeans Go Green program keeps textile waste out of landfills and helps with building efforts in communities around the country.

RepurposeOn Pinterestand YouTube,there are tips for repurposing old clothes. You can also check out this link for ideas.

Repair—If your garment is missing a button, learn how to sew it back on. If a zipper is broken, learn how to fix it. If there is a small hole or stain, learn how to cover it the fashionable way.

February 18, 2019

Fredrika Syren

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about

Hello there! My name is Fredrika and I’m a Sweden native living in San Diego, California with my husband James and our three children. I’m an environmental writer and have been sharing my family’s journey of living zero-waste since we shifted our lifestyle back in 2016.

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