Each year, over 20 million kilograms of textile waste end up in landfills - just in the Metro Vancouver area alone. Adding up to 17 pounds, or roughly the weight of 44 t-shirts, per person annually.
Today, people are buying three times more clothing items than in the 1980s, and wearing them less often before throwing them away. Combine this obsession of buying more clothing more often, with the fact that about 60% of material fibres contain plastic - we begin to see just how unsustainable our current fashion habits are.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to shift your clothing habits - saving you time and money, and also reducing the environmental impact of clothing items throughout their lifecycle.
A new mindset: Be More With Less
Heard of the minimalist clothing trend, capsule wardrobes?
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing (usually 33 items or less) composed of interchangeable items to maximize outfits, reducing the need to own a lot of clothing.
Contemporary capsule wardrobe guru, Courtney Carver, runs Project 333 where she teaches how to dress with just 33 items of clothing, updated each season.
You can remove a significant amount of stress from your life, simply by reducing the number of items in your closet. - Courtney Carver
To get started, she recommends taking an inventory of your current closet and building outfits around staple pieces. Unwanted clothing can be donated and clothing with minor flaws can be repaired instead of thrown away.
When adding to your wardrobe, stick to natural materials and try to avoid synthetic materials.
Your greenest option is to buy pre-loved.
Buying second-hand clothing offers a win-win-win - lower cost for you, extending the life of clothing keeping it out of the landfill, and supporting local businesses.
In the Okanagan, we have a huge selection of retailers who specialize in gently loved clothing for the whole family. Check out GO's Shop Local page for a list of local retailers - and for more pre-loved finds visit Kelowna Clothing Swap, local buy and sell pages, and the marketplace on Facebook.
Do you have tips to dress for environmental success? Share them with us below. Also be sure to check out our posts on Greening Your Laundry Routine, to keep your clothes look great for longer!
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