Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we rally together to support and protect our Earth as we are witnessing the effects of what can happen when our Earth in inundated with too much waste, pollution and toxic goods.
Every activity we do throughout the day has some sort of affect on our Mother Earth.
Everything from the waste we throw away, to the car we drive, the amount of water and electricity we use, the type of clothing we wear, and the kind of food we eat all play a major role in the health and sustainability of our environment.
To give you an idea of how big of an impact each one of us can have on the Earth just by changing a couple habits, I will share with you an important topic that can have a huge effect on our environment.
THE EFFECTS OUR APPAREL CAN HAVE ON OUR ENVIRONMENT
Being a conscious consumer is important, especially in the clothing we wear. Fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and spandex make up synthetically derived fibers made from petro-chemicals and toxic materials. These materials are harmful to our environment both in their production and in their waste disposal. Over 2,000 chemicals are deployed in the making of our clothing. These chemicals find their way into our air, soil, and waterways during manufacture, and when added to our landfills these chemical laden products fill our ecosystem with toxic debris.
This unsustainable waste does not biodegrade in our ecosystem. Once it reaches our landfills it can take 40 to 200 years to break down and some synthetic materials will never biodegrade! In the landfill this waste sits, piling up with more and more waste that may never breakdown, creating a noxious mix of chemicals in the ground. Any synthetically derived waste that does end up degrading will leach its chemicals into the soil which then enter our waterways and are also released into the air; affecting our food supply, water supply, and the air we breathe. All being the three key necessities we need to survive as a human race.
How we can make a change…
Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
If there is still life in a garment when you are ready to eliminate it from your wardrobe choose to recycle the garment by giving it to a second-hand store. What is old to you could be a treasure to someone else and will give the clothing new life.
Reduce your waste by not buying into the “Fast Fashion” trend. Today we are purchasing 400 percent more clothing than we did 20 years ago. Each person is responsible for contributing approximately 82 pounds of textile waste to our landfills each year; adding up to 11 million tons from just the United States alone. This amount has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years.
We must stop buying into the fast fashion trend where having a new outfit for every occasion has become the norm. Instead, grow your wardrobe with staple pieces that are quality made, will withstand washing and wearing, and will be timeless in your wardrobe.
Reuse your old clothing by repurposing it. There are many ways to repurpose clothing. For instance, you can use your old garments as rags around the house, cut fabric squares from clothing and sew them into a quilt, make produce bags or patch scarfs from old t-shirts, make a door stopper from a tattered pair of jeans, sew a hat from and old sweater, and much more!
Wear Naturally Fibered (Organic) Clothing
Clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton, flax (linen), and hemp are the best option when looking for new items in your wardrobe. These garments tend to have a longer lifespan in your closet as the fibers are stronger and more durable. And the good thing is that when they are ready to be discarded that they do not have a long lifespan in the landfill. These fibers are biodegradable and as long as they are made in natural way and free of heavy metal dyes, chemical finishes, etc., they will not contribute to the toxic load in the environment.
Going one step further and choosing to wear organic fibers such as organic cotton is even better, as conventional cotton uses heavy amounts of pesticides and herbicides to grow the crop. In fact, as cited in the book “Killer Clothes” by Brian and Anna Maria Clement, The Global Trade Association estimates that a single non-organic cotton t-shirt is the product of one-third pound of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Posing a threat to both human and environmental health, non-organic cotton uses twenty-five percent of all the pesticides used on our planet.
Additionally, energy to produce natural fibers comes from the sun which is a renewable resource, whereas energy used to produce synthetic fibers comes mostly from fossil fuels which are one of the main contributors to environmental pollution. Non-organic clothing also has the potential to contain toxic heavy metal dyes and chemical finishes which also pose a major threat to our personal health and our planet.
If we could all commit to implementing some of these changes in our life, we could make a large dent in restoring the destruction we have already caused. Now more than ever we need to celebrate Earth Day each and every day to help restore the damage that has already been done. Each day we are seeing more and more the effects of what our impact has caused, leading us closer and closer to species degradation and to the devastation of our last remaining untainted habitats.
Clothing (fashion) should never be thought of as a disposable product. When properly made and taken care of, a garment should last years in your wardrobe; and at the end of the garments life there are many ways to repurpose or recycle textile goods so that they are not further contributing to our environmental waste.
“Killer Clothes” Brian and Anna Maria Clement