To my dearest readers,
I hope that you had a lovely holiday this past week and you enjoyed time with family and friends. I also hope some of you took the donation challenge and called up your local shelters. Many people think that organizations such as Goodwill and Salvation Army just provide for these organizations, and the truth is, they are fueled on donations like any other not for profit. So keep your fellow humans in mind this season.
I have been trying to articulate some very interesting buzz that’s been circulating around the fashion world for going on several decades. Mostly it’s the part of me who is very entrepreneurial in spirit, but a conservator at heart. For those of you who have been following along, fashion and positive body image are two topics very near and dear to my heart. However, the third topic which gets my blood boiling when it comes to fashion is its environmental foot print.
We cannot think about Christmas in the U.S. without associating it with the task of doing some shopping for our friends, loved ones, and co-workers. I think that we would all love to live in a world where we didn’t have to worry about natural habitats getting destroyed, or running out of natural supplies, or having the ability to grow all of the plants that we need to continue to live on this planet of ours. But the truth is, this just isn’t a reality. People have to become activists for their cause. It doesn’t always mean you stand in front of a political building with a sign, but it does mean that you inform yourself and you inform others. Where am I going with this?
Well recently I read this fantastically informative article about the impact of our fas fashion consumption on second hand markets. The numbers are just staggering, and to be honest after researching similar topics not even 5 years ago, the number just continue to grow. We create 25 billion pounds of new clothing a year in the U.S. 85% of which ends up in a land fill at the end of it’s cycle. This is bad kids. Why? Because most of the clothing made today is made of materials that don’t biodegrade easily. The following is a pie chart provided by EPA estimates of what ends up in a landfill. According to the math above 21 billion pounds of the above new textiles will be added to landfills and according to the chart below that’s only a small slice of what’s ending up in the garbage.
You may be asking, what being environmental conscious has to do with when and where you are going to find the latest and greatest in plus sized dresses for next spring. The real issue is, if we don’t slow down with our consumption of clothing, one day we literally will have nothing left to consume. You can forget about shopping for this season’s latest boots and you will find yourselves at the mercy of whatever second hand markets exist, until every last piece of clothing has to be scrapped together.
I don’t bring this up so close to the holiday season to bring you down for going out and enjoying some shopping. However, I think it’s time to have some real talks about the things we are buying. I am just as guilty as all of you for purchasing things I don’t need. But as this holiday approaches and you start purging your house to make room for all your new Christmas goodies, not to mention the increase in trash you are going to have from the increased foot traffic in your home, here are my
Top 5 requests for a less ecologically impacted christmas:
- recycle everything you possibly can: paper, boxes, textiles, cans, paper plates, etc. Say no to styrofoam and remember those extra bags of trash you pitch at the holidays have to go somewhere.
- Look at purchasing quality clothing that will fall apart. Have a love affair with your clothing, love it until you’ve attached the last button you can sew on to it, love it until it falls off your person and then? recycle it.
- Try to shop local, support your local artisans, by supporting local businesses, you are decreasing the amount of carbon emissions used to ship goods and products to your door. You are also stimulating local economies which bring direct benefits to you and your community.
- Keep an eye out for trends that are just going in the garbage in 3 months. Stop buying it! If everyone stops buying it and pushes for more sustainable products, retailers and creators will have to adapt. You control the market with your money. It doesn’t work with out millions of us and the dollars we put towards the products we buy.
- Tell your friends. Remind them about how they have a say in these crazy fashion cycles.
Here’s another individuals take on how to recycle your textiles, they have some pretty good tips. I don’t want you to feel bad about enjoying clothing, but I do want you to think about where it’s coming from and how we all are guilty of over consuming. Happy Shopping!
Hope to see you next week!