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Ecological footprint of your closet: a simple checklist for conscious consumption

Date: March 2, 2024 Time: 05:30:55

03.07.23, 17:40 2023-07-03T17:40:12+03:00

Our love of fashion is unfortunately not good for the planet: while we enjoy shopping, production causes irreparable damage to the environment. It’s never too late to start changing your habits: be smart about buying and wearing clothes. We are learning this together with the consulting company Prostoye Delo, which has been helping companies to become more environmentally friendly for five years.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the fashion industry is the second largest consumer of water and is responsible for approximately 2-8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, only in our country, 2 million tons of textiles are sent to the landfill per year (15-17 kg per city inhabitant). The good news is that people can reduce their impact on the environment in the context of the fashion industry, for this it is important to take into account the entire life cycle of a thing, that is, time and sequential processes. from the extraction of raw materials. available. Consider how it looks, using the example of a hoodie.

We have prepared a checklist that will help reduce the negative impact at different stages of the clothing life cycle.

The most effective way to reduce consumption is not to buy what you don’t need and what you already have. Before buying, carefully examine your wardrobe, and when choosing something, think about how and with what you will wear it, if it is combined with other items in your wardrobe.

Many brands reduce the quality of products to increase profits by using fabrics that are cheaper to manufacture. Simply put: things quickly become unusable, you look for new ones, and the amount of textiles you consume is constantly growing.

In order for clothes to last longer and better, pay attention to the quality of the materials and how they fit the purpose for which you buy them. For example, for summer in hot regions, light and breathable fabrics are suitable, sportswear should absorb moisture, and in the cold and rainy season – moisture resistant and keep warm.

How to buy the most sustainable clothing:

choose certified materials (GOTS, ICEA, ECOCERT, Soil Association, Naturtextil, ETKO) – when they are created, the entire life cycle of the product is evaluated; give preference to clothing made with natural fabrics (they are easier to recycle) or brands that use fabrics from recycled materials; Please note: clothing in natural colors (grey, beige, etc.) is more environmentally friendly, as dyeing the fabrics has a significant environmental impact. And things made from one type of fiber are easier to recycle; clothing with many accessories is difficult to reuse, so it ends up in landfills. Try not to buy it.

The assortment in mass-market stores is updated so quickly and so often that things do not have time to be completely sold out. The rest is sent to incineration, which causes the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, to save money, brands shift their production to lower-wage Asian countries, increasing the transportation footprint due to the long journey from production to consumer. Therefore, clothing from local brands that produce items in small batches and often produce them in the same city or neighborhood can be an alternative.

Shopping at flea markets and thrift stores also extends the life cycle of a product, gives things a new lease of life, and reduces their impact on the environment. A study by ThredUp (a women’s and children’s clothing reselling platform) compared the environmental footprint of buying used and new clothing. The conclusions are:

1 second-hand dress reduces emissions and saves:

61.3 MJ of energy 91.9 liters of water

According to a Levi’s study on the environmental impact of the life cycle of a pair of jeans, the care phase of the garment is the one that contributes the most to climate change due to its high use of non-renewable energy sources. It may seem surprising, but if you wash the jeans after ten uses instead of two, energy and water consumption and the impact of climate change are reduced by up to 80%.

Therefore, it is important to follow the rules that will help reduce the ecological footprint of your cabinet:

wash clothes as needed (saving energy and water); wash in cold water (cleans the fabric more gently: things do not stretch or shrink, which means that the need to buy new clothes occurs less often); dry things naturally, not in electric dryers (energy saving).

The disposal of things is one of the stages that has the greatest impact on the environment.

The EcoLine Group found that more than 78% of the textiles thrown into trash cans in Russia could be reusable and recyclable if they were collected before they ended up in them. However, when it enters the tanks, the textiles absorb liquid and food waste and become unsuitable for recycling.

To reduce the amount of textile waste, you can:

donate clothes to recycle and reuse. For example, in the background “Segundo Viento”; donate clothes to charities; take it to an exchange – an event for the exchange of clothes and accessories, where you can give away your things and find something for yourself on the principle of mutual exchange; fix the thing, if possible; make something new from existing ones – this approach is called upcycle (create clothing or other items from previously made things that are no longer used for their intended purpose).

It is impossible to refuse to buy new clothes, but it is important to remember that all our actions affect the world and the environment. You can make your contribution to the cause of environmental protection by taking very small steps, including paying attention to projects for the development of environmentally friendly consumption. Such, for example, was released by the company “Prostoye Delo” together with the production of Petrichor – they created a batch of hoodies with the inscription “Everything begins with love.” Products are made to order to avoid overproduction. They are made from GOTS hemp and organic cotton, and the leftover materials are returned to the life cycle to be used in the creation of packaging bags. From July 1 to July 14, the merchandise is available to order via the link. Part of the funds received from the sale will go to the Second Breath fund at VK Dobro to develop infrastructure to extend the life cycle of textiles.

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Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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