Do You Know Even Clothes Burden the Environment? Let’s Inspect the Imp

Everyone loves upgrading their fashion, from girls to boys, men to women. Kids are also not too far; it's just that they are often at their parents' mercy. Nevertheless, the speed at which clothes are removed from the wardrobe is double the rate at which they are purchased a year.

People hardly think much before throwing them in the waste.

The idea of recycling also occurs either late or not at all. Those who realize their mistake often rely on waste removal companies to do what is needed.

Although some junk removers are involved in responsible waste management, the reality can differ on a large scale.

In North America, about ten million tons of clothes are dropped annually in landfills. What is more disheartening is most of them are recyclable or reusable.

If you want to contribute to energy saving and ease landfill burdens, consider handling your old pair of undergarments, t-shirts, or anything else carefully. Some people may need more time to search for a recycling facility and give their discarded clothes to them. For them and others, enlisting the help of a trustworthy waste pickup service in Hawaii will be convenient. Before dumping anything, they can take your clothes and other waste materials and send the suitable items to a recognized recycling facility. Do you want to improve your lifestyle choices for the planet? Here is a quick look into an overall scenario of clothing waste and dealing it with sound understanding.

The Right Way to Manage Clothing Waste

clothing waste

Most people believe torn and stained clothes should go into the garbage, while not even a single piece should land there. You will agree if you know the composition of these pieces you drape around yourself. Primarily, all clothes are either synthetic or natural fabrics. Cotton, silk, wool, and hemp are natural, renewable materials. These decompose easily. These materials are highly regarded for their ability to be carbon neutral; they balance the amount of carbon dioxide they produce and consume. Nowadays, you encounter semi-synthetic materials like rayon or viscose.

Although they also decompose, these fabrics create methane, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases that damage the climate. Synthetic clothes like nylon, acrylic, spandex, and polyester are worst for the environment as they don't decompose easily. Like plastics, these materials are a burden on the landfills forever.

Now, it's time to face the truth. The purchase rate of new clothing has increased by 60% compared to what was done two decades back. Combine this with fast fashion, and you will realize how these textiles quickly fill the country's landfills. An immediate fix to this problem is minimalism or buying fewer clothes. However, many other ways exist to save the planet from growing waste problems.

Upscale or Recycle

You can repurpose some old pieces, which can be torn and unsuitable for donations. Suppose it's a stained wearable item. Your first attempt can be dying the textile. A natural material will be easy to revive with this. Unwearable fabrics can become kitchen rags. Clean them well before using them. If you love DIYing, those waste clothes can adorn your planters, garden, and pillows in their new form. Some old, stained footwear and clothes can be reserved for painting, gardening, and other chores. The other choice is recycling. The easiest way to save landfills from another load is by hiring a local junk removal service, which also offers assistance with recycling. It will cost you a little, but this is nothing compared to the positive impact it creates on the environment.

Those who have free time can engage in DIY recycling practices. You can compost pure cotton and other natural fabrics. Anything mixed with polyester or other synthetic materials is not suitable for this. Removing buttons, zippers, and other attachments is essential to compost correctly. You would need to shred the textile.

The Dark Side of Fast Fashion

Conversations centered around sustainable fashion often touch on the topic of fast fashion. Fast fashion refers to low-quality and low-cost garments mimicking the runway styles to attract buyers. This model is so named because of its fast design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and selling. Due to varieties and quantities, consumers buy more products at an affordable price. The term came into vogue in the early 1990s, when big garment players eyed a target of 15 days for designing and selling items in stores. Studies show how such trends jeopardize the earth's health.

About 10% of carbon emissions worldwide are caused by fashion production. Rivers, streams, and other water resources are exposed to the danger of pollution and drying up. On top of this, 85% of clothing fills the landfills. You can also count the adverse effects of washing clothes, which flushes out almost 500k tons of microfibers in the ocean a year. Do you know what it means? It is the same as dumping 50 billion plastic bottles. Scary! It leads us to analyze its unwanted effects on the environment and society.

  • Environmental Impact:
    You can break this into water, energy, and microplastics. To the uninitiated, the fashion industry comes second in consuming non-renewable sources like water. A single piece of cotton shirt needs about 700 gallons of water, and a pair of jeans requires 2k gallons in manufacturing. The dying process threatens water purity with pollution since the remaining dye water is released into rivers, streams, and ditches. As for energy consumption, cloth production relies on massive petroleum consumption and creates VOCs. Furthermore, acrylic, nylon, and polyester don't decompose even after centuries.
  • Social Impact:
    Fast fashion is also a problem for societies, particularly developing ones. The industry uses child labor. Profit is prioritized over human welfare.
fast fashion

Fast Fashion Industry Quick Facts

Looking at some additional statistics can be an eye-opener. The world produces 100 billion clothes annually, of which 92 million tons fill landfills. Let's simplify this. These numbers indicate that about one full rubbish truck of clothes is emptied into a landfill each second. At this speed, this waste will amount to 134 million tons annually within a decade. The other grim reality is that the carbon emission rate will be 50% higher by 2030. It's about the global fashion industry.

If you analyze American consumer behavior, an average person discards about 81.5 lbs of apparel annually, contributing to 85% of textile waste globally. If you go to the granular detail, one individual wastes about 37kgs of clothes annually, dumping 2,150 pieces every second in the country. Adding to this is the growing single-use culture, which has only progressed with time. Currently, most clothes are used only 7 to 10 times before being thrown away.

The Solution to Tackle Fast Fashion Clothing Waste

Your instinct will say to buy less. However, a comprehensive approach is needed to reduce the amount of textiles dumped in landfills every second of every year. While minimalistic behavior is appreciable, you can give old or unwanted clothes to junk removers for recycling. It will directly help in the conservation of natural resources. For example, one ton of new cotton production needs 765k gallons of water. However, recycling facilities can save precious natural resources from being wasted. Do you know what this water saving means? One person can get a drinking water supply for 2.5 years. Likewise, new clothes manufacturing consumes fossil fuels. But the energy use will drastically slide due to more and more recycling. It will also alleviate the greenhouse gas issue.

When your fast fashion waste goes to a recycling facility, the landfills remain lighter, not requiring additional space to manage the growing pile. So, talk to a local junk removal company for help. At the same time, you can tweak your purchase behavior a little. For example, you can buy second-hand fast-fashion clothes. Due to the circulation of existing clothes, there will be less need for production. You can check consignment shops or thrift stores for this. Even online marketplaces are an option. Whether you buy fresh or used clothes, select only eco-friendly fabrics, such as bamboo, hemp, cotton, and linen. Before discarding any piece, consider repurposing or repairing it. It can also minimize the environmental damage caused by fast fashion. 

Luckily, modern consumers are more aware and conscious of their choices, even if they overspend. Still, media and advertising often instigate compulsive behavior. They emphasize looking right, creating a sense of missing out or low self-esteem in buyers. Check the fast fashion companies' promotions once, and you will realize it. Overindulgence in fast fashion can also limit your approach to beauty, where popular notions favor only certain body types. Someone who doesn't understand that the substance of those standards is too narrow suffers from emotional and mental setbacks.

Hence, it's time to analyze your lifestyle choices even more closely. While buying more clothes is still alright, knowing how to manage them without causing a lot of waste is essential. Also, an urge to overindulge in anything should be controlled. These little steps can have a cumulative enormous impact on the environment in a positive way. So, plan your buys and wardrobe management well.

Author - Aleksandra Djurdjevic
Aleksandra Djurdjevic          

Senior Content Creator

Aleksandra Djurdjevic is a senior writer and editor, covering jewelry, accessories, and trends. She’s also works with services, home décor. She has previously worked as ESL teacher for English Tochka. Aleksandra graduated from the Comparative Literature department at the Faculty of Philosophy in Serbia. Aleksandra’s love for the environment, crafts and natural products over the years helps her continue to be a top expert at Wooden Earth.


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