By Jane Marsh
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Sustainability ensures we have enough resources and protects the planet for future generations. One way to live more eco-friendly is by supporting sustainable fashion brands. These companies use green products and reduce their overall waste consumption.
Here are a few ways to support businesses that focus on preserving the planet.
1. Stay Away From Fads
Trends can change over time, so try not to buy something just because it’s in season. For example, maybe sequined tops have come into style. You can find these items for a low price at certain retailers, but you might only wear them a few times. It may seem like the only issue is your crowded closet space, but this can impact the environment.
For example, clothing production wastes energy and natural resources, like water. In fact, the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water every year. Also, fiber manufacturing and transportation can release greenhouse gases, polluting the air and increasing climate change. Microfibers that are dumped into the ocean harm marine life.
Support brands that promote sustainable practices instead of going for trendy purchases. Research what materials they use. Do they use eco-friendly ones, like recycled plastic? Also, look into their manufacturing process to see if they are energy-efficient.
2. Find Companies With the Right Certifications
Look for sustainable labels like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Fair Trade. The GOTS mark ensures the company uses organic fibers for textiles. Fairtrade businesses focus on ethical standards for manufacturing products. They emphasize transparent supply chains and paying garment workers livable wages.
Also, look for Made in Green labels and Bluesign certifications.
Another way to find sustainable companies is through the Fashion Transparency Index, which ranks 250 of the biggest brands based on environmental policies. You can find these certifications on garment tags, packaging or online. These products also usually have fewer toxic chemicals.
Once you find eco-friendly organizations, raise awareness about them on your social media. You could even start a fundraising campaign and donate money to the business. Try to connect with donors personally and explain how worthwhile the cause is. In addition, offer them multiple ways to communicate, such as through text or email.
3. Don’t Throw Away Clothes
We generate about 16 million tons of textile waste a year. It ends up in landfills, which release methane gases. They contaminate the air, harm the environment and can make us sick. Combat this by selling, donating or recycling them instead. Items in good condition can go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
You can also donate clothes directly to companies like The Wardrobe or Nordstrom. People who’d like to make a profit can sell them online through Poshmark or eBay.
Try to recycle textiles. Some companies, like H&M, offer recycling programs with incentives.
Another option is to repurpose your old clothing. For example, shirts make good cleaning rags. This reduces your paper towel consumption.
Here are a few more ways to repurpose your things:
- Sew together worn T-shirts to make a blanket
- Use old shirts to create a pillowcase
- Design a handbag
- Create a winter hat from old sweaters
- Turn a long-sleeved shirt into a wrapped skirt
4. Buy Secondhand Clothing
Secondhand stores, like thrift and vintage shops, are filled with affordable and unique pieces. For example, you could find a fun dress or an old band T-shirt. These stores also limit mass production that negatively impacts the environment.
About 100 billion garments are made each year, and some never reach the consumer. Some luxury businesses, like Burberry, actually destroy unsold clothing to protect their brand. However, other companies are promoting the repurposing trend.
Levi’s has a secondhand program that allows customers to return denim items. These are then washed and resold for purchase. You can also shop online from stores like thredUp, The RealReal or Poshmark. This can be a more convenient option when you’re in a rush.
5. Take Proper Care of Your Clothing
Instead of buying new clothes for every season, shop at home first. You might already have the perfect accessory. This prevents the need to produce more clothing and limits overall waste. Some of your clothes may be worn down and have holes. See if you can repair them with a sewing kit first. If you’re not that crafty, take your items to a local tailor.
Another essential thing to do is to take proper care of your clothing. Practice good laundry techniques, like using shorter and more delicate cycles. You can use your washing machine’s soak cycle, which doesn’t toss around your items as much.
Here are a few more tips:
- Turn your dark and colorful clothes inside out
- Use the right amount of detergent, usually about a shot glass worth
- Air-dry clothing
- Remove stains right away
- Avoid bleeding colors.
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle encourages brands to be more active in their efforts. Here are some companies currently following sustainable trends.
How to Live Sustainably
When it comes to fashion, it’s more than just about how you look. The clothing you wear impacts the environment. Support sustainable brands focusing on using eco-friendly materials and ethical manufacturing processes so you can help make a difference.
About the author:
Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.