I think a lot about trash. Does that surprise you? I like to consider the long-term impact of my actions and purchases and that includes going more zero waste. What happens after I’m done with something? This line of questioning has changed the way I consume products, both groceries and apparel.
For instance, I didn’t realize that any synthetic material (i.e. nylon, polyester, spandex, etc.) in our clothes are made from plastics and plastics are made from petroleum. The textile industry represents one of the largest polluters on our planet, second only to oil and gas. The plastic waste in our oceans comprises 269,000 metric tons and 5.25 trillion particles—enough to stretch to the moon and back, twice* (think single use plastic water bottles, the plastic micro-beads in your face wash, or plastic toothbrushes for that matter).
What you can do
Wear out the clothes you have then donate donate it to a program that sells textiles for fabric recycling. Goodwill has been a leader in recycling textiles and uses any profits for their job training program.
Need help recycling a certain thing-a-ma-jiggy? You can find a place near you by searching Earth911.
Downsize to a capsule wardrobe. Haven’t worn an item in over a year? It’s a safe bet you can let go of it.
When shopping to replace any items in your wardrobe, choose second hand. Read the material tag. Pick clothes made from an all natural fiber (cotton, linen, hemp, wool, silk, etc.) that can compost naturally without harmful by-products seeping into our ground water (but consider the thread, I just read where thread is not usually 100% compostable).
Let’s educate ourselves and make better choices for our own lives and health and others.
Here are some of my favorite sustainable clothing companies:
Here are some of my favorite bloggers on the subject of Zero Waste:
This post doesn’t really do justice but I will continue to write more about this. Have you ever thought about trash? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below (also, it would make me feel less nerdy, but whatever, I’m trying to be an adult about that).
p.s. What’s in my trash bin this week? We had one regular sized kitchen trash bag and a small one gallon sized trash bag from our bathroom in our weekly trash bin for a family of four. I’m pretty proud of that. Also, someone’s ratty chaise lounge chair pad that blew into our yard after a wind storm. Weird, huh?
*data provided by a 2012 study (read more @ 5Gyres)