By now you’ve likely seen this photo circling the internet. You know the one – the image of plastic bottles washed up along the shore of Ouzai, Lebanon. According to the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This information has sparked a movement to reduce plastic waste, with some major companies vowing to eliminate plastic straws. (Starbucks plans to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020.) According to a report by Waste Reduction Week, Canadians throw away about 57 million single-use plastic straws every day (that’s more than 2 billion each year!).
But plastic isn’t the only problem. The fashion industry is also known for its large carbon footprint.
Think about this: more than 83 million tonnes of apparel goes to waste each year. And while some brands in the fashion industry (Allbirds, for example) are doing their part to reduce waste in the manufacturing process and lessen their environmental impact, there’s more we can do as consumers. Here are three simple ways to reduce, reuse and recycle your clothing, shoes and other unwanted items.
For starters, do we really need 10+ pairs of jeans? You probably only wear two of three pairs. Considering it takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans, that’s a massive amount of waste. Be selective about what you’re buying and ask yourself if you really need it.
Turn your well-loved jeans into a pair of jean shorts. Or, if you’re not crafty, check out a brand like Preloved which takes pre-loved clothing and turns it into new items.
Friday, August 17 marks National Thrift Shop Day. Don’t toss your unwanted clothing items in the garbage. Make a donation to a retailer like Value Village. You know the saying, ‘One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.’– it’s true. According to the 2018 Value Village Thrift Shopping Survey, 47 percent of North Americans love finding hidden treasures. “We want to educate consumers about the importance of purchasing goods with a circular mindset — which includes shopping secondhand to ensure the life of every garment and household item produced is extended,” Value Village Chairman and CEO, Duane Woods said in a press release.