Living Less Unsustainably: Wear Out Those Clothes!

Mar 16, 2020

Isn't it great when doing something nice for yourself doesn't hurt the planet, and helps other people too?Unfortunately, buying clothes and giving them to the thrift store doesn't fit that dream.

Credit John Fischer

Many people get clothes for a single event, or as an impulse purchase and give tham away after a few months - or years in the closet. The idea is that somebody else will buy the clothes at a discount instead of buying a new item.     

While donating clothes you no longer want or need is a great idea, there are more clothes manufactured than people need, and recycling still functional clothing is difficult, costly, and wasteful. Closets have gotten bigger, and the complaint "I just have too many clothes" is more common than the Earth can handle.    30 years ago, clothing production led to the emission of 2-3% of the climate changing gasses. Now it's 10%. That's more than all international flight and shipping produce each year. One third of clothing's impact comes from material production, one third from manufacture, and one third from distribution and disposal. The simple solution is buy what you will wear. Keep it until it is worn out. Then, donate the unspent clothing money to help people buy locally manufactured natural fiber clothing.     Micro-plastic particles are shed from synthetics over the life of the product. Natural fibers shed biodegradable bits. Womens clothes acount for two thirds of everything sold ithe U.S. and make up a larger share of unsaleable thrift store stock. Try not to let fashion drive you into making purchases that won't last, or be worn. For once, old men may have the best fashion sense - environmentally. If you can still see some of the pattern, the flannel shirt is not worn out. And young people - if you can't read your tattoo through the clothing, it isn't worn out.