SATIN OR SILK: 5 Easy Steps to a More Eco-Friendly Wardrobe

Sunday, August 4

5 Easy Steps to a More Eco-Friendly Wardrobe

We all take our wardrobes pretty seriously here, but if you'd like to take it a step further and use your closet and clothes to help the environment, here are a few tips to get you started.

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Try Cardboard Hangers

I am using mostly plastic hangers at the moment and was considering buying some more, but know I think I'll reconsider. Did you know that some plastic clothes hangers could take up to 800 years to decompose? That's Insane! I just learned that little fact from the Eco Hang website where you can buy 100% recyclable, 100% compostable, strong, sturdy and stylish coathangers. These will also help keep your wardrobe tidy as their slim design saves a lot of space. Another similar hanger available is the Becohanger made from recycled cardboard.


Wear Your Own Skin

Even items that you think may be synthetic are still very likely to be made from real animals (more here) so steer clear of those fur-trim jackets. It's not 2002, after all. As for leather, if you're eating red meat then you probably won't have a problem with it and that's fine but there are a few leather and suede alternatives that are gentler on the planet including dinamica (Chua, 2011). This suede-like material is made from recycled PET and has been used by vegan footwear and accessory brand Beyond Skin (Chua, 2011).


Reuse

Donating clothes and buying from charity shops is a great way to ensure clothing does not contribute to landfill. It is estimated that the average Brit or American throws away 30kg of clothing each year (1 Million Women, 2012). I haven't been able to find similar figures for Australians but let's try to keep it as low as possible! It's even more worthwhile to buy secondhand sometimes when we consider that it can take 20,000 Litres of water to make a single cotton T-shirt (Elkin, 2013). What? Try thrift shopping and donating to reduce landfill and damaging environmental impacts.


Recycle

Even if you have old clothes that aren't fit for wear anymore, they don't have to be destined for the rubbish tip. Charity stores get a lot of donations that are unfit for sale and the shop I used to volunteer at sent away any non-salable cotton garments to be reused as rags. Just ask at your local store if they could use your donation of diy-gone-wrong t-shirts.


Try Organic Cotton

Not only does traditional cotton farming require a lot of water but it also relies on the use of pesticides which contaminate the soil, water and air. In some countries, however, it is possible to grow cotton organically (Shop Ethical).

Here are a few online retailers of organic cotton garments:
O2 Wear An Australia company using sustainably grown bamboo and organic cotton
Blessed Earth Uses Turkish organic cotton and nothing is over $50
Gaiam Uses natural and fair trade materials including organic cotton and also leather alternatives (Yay!)
My Heart Beats Green 100% organic cotton clothing made in Brisbane
Samudra Garments made from ethically sourced cotton and bamboo
Continental Clothing Sweat Shop free organic cotton and bamboo clothing


References and Further Reading


Chua, J M. (2011, August 19). 7 Eco-Friendly (and Vegan!) Alternatives to Animal Leather. Retrieved August 4, 2013 From Ecouterre: http://www.ecouterre.com/7-eco-friendly-and-vegan-alternatives-to-animal-leather/


Elkin, K. (2013, March 11). Journey of a T-shirt. Retrieved August 3, 2013 from Green Lifestyle Magazine: http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/features/3725/journey-t-shirt

1 Million Women (2012).  The Wear Fact File. Retrieved August 3, 2013 from 1 Million Women
http://www.1millionwomen.com.au/News.cfm?id=339


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