In today's world where every season, festival and holiday has new trends popping up at a very fast pace, it becomes hard (very!) to resist the temptation to get just another pair of jeans which rocks your summer look or that beautiful scarf which complements your autumn evenings. Due to this, the space in our wardrobe gets smaller & smaller and that humongous pile of clothes in the corner of our room that just gets bigger & bigger. This fuels the need to dispose of our old clothes. Now, what a lot of us will do is probably pack it up and dump it with our usual garbage or separate our old clothes and offer it to the garbage man who comes every morning. I’m sure you can relate to this in some form or manner. All of us have clothes that we want to get rid of every year. It could be that jeans which no longer fit or that black dress which is out of fashion or that T-shirt which has holes in it. We might even think; ‘what's the harm in doing what I have always been doing?’ and ‘why should I give a damn about how exactly to go about disposing of old clothes?’ well they must be biodegradable right?. But, that's not the case!. On average, cotton clothing takes 1-2 years to decompose, wool takes around 5 years and polyester takes 200 years to decompose in landfills (unbelievable right?!?). While decomposing, clothes produce byproducts like carbon dioxide and methane, which (as you may already know) contributes to global warming. Not only this, the chemicals and dyes used in the clothes, seep into the ground, ultimately affecting soil fertility and contaminating groundwater. In fact, most throw-away clothes that reach landfills cause such environmental damages. If you are wondering what exactly is the point of all of this then know that this blog is to guide you to become aware of the things that we often overlook - responsibly disposing/reusing our old clothes and how exactly we can do this sustainably.
Repurpose your old clothes (Creatively!)
Repurposing clothes means that we can make something new or something which can serve a different purpose by using our old clothes. What I am trying to say is that I have always seen my mother making my old tees as a cleaning rag (Sadly!) But this made me think about how old cloth can be used to serve different purposes.
All we need is a scissor, some thread, and a little bit of creativity to turn our old pants into eco-friendly bags, or our old T-shirts to become stuffings for pillows or some old towel as a mop. If you think you are not creative enough to find your unique way of repurposing clothes, then FEAR NOT!, there are tons of DIY’s that you can look up on the internet to save the day.
Donate both clothes and happiness!
Have you ever wondered how we can help the ones in orphanages, the homeless, and the poor? There are many ways but one thing that does bring a smile to everyone's face are clothes. We can donate our old clothes which we don’t fit in or those dresses that we don’t feel like wearing to people who never got a chance to wear them. There are many NGOs, refugee organizations, foster care programs, nursing homes that are happily willing to take donations of such clothes. Donation of old clothes is not only sustainable but also is a medium to spread smiles to so many faces!
Thrift it Up!
Thrift stores are stores offline or online that sell second-hand clothes. There are two kinds of thrift stores - where one runs for-profit and another for raising funds for charity. Instead of throwing away our old clothes ( especially those that are in good condition), we can either make a little money by selling them to thrift stores that are run for-profit or donate them to those run for charity. But, you don’t have to worry about finding a thrift store now, it's at your doorway- Instagram. After all, It’s a win-win situation for us!
Do out check out why thrifting is important for environment: https://www.emacity.shop/post/reasons-why-you-should-shop-from-sustainable-second-hand-thrift-ethical-brands
Go for a Textile Recycle Program!
This is something I wasn’t aware of. So, many brands like Adidas, Nike, Madewell, etc. have initiated a textile recycling program where the yarn or fabric is recovered and then reprocessed to make some other useful products. This recycling program has lots of added benefits for our environment like
(i) it saves energy going when producing new pieces of clothing
(ii) some initiatives uses the recycled textile to help setup stations where people from the developing nations can access clothes at an affordable price
(ii) it helps avoid the emission of greenhouse gases during decomposition and also helps reduce the use of landfills! You can take a step towards a sustainable future with a step towards a textile recycling program!
Mend and Repairs
Mending and repairing have always been the traditional way followed for generations. The clothes which have torn a bit or one with a broken zipper or with weakened buttons can be easily repaired, just like a new one. In today’s time where fast fashion has made clothing very affordable, people have begun to replace rather than repairing it! Contrary to the belief that to mend, one needs a whole tailoring kit and sewing machine..all we need is a thread and needle( Don’t worry! It ain’t prinking you). A thread and needle skill not only saves our earth but also saves us in an emergency!
Clothing Swap Dates
Having a date with your friends to swap clothes seems like a super fun idea, doesn't it? (And it is!!!). I loved the idea of swapping clothes that we don’t wear anymore and are just lying in some dark corner of our wardrobe. This is a really fun way of getting rid of your old clothes while welcoming other ones to your wardrobe. Let me know in the comments if you find clothing swap dates cool too?
Disposing of old clothes responsibly is a small difference that we can make as we embark on this journey towards a sustainable future- to ultimately create a path for ourselves to live a sustainable life and induce changes for the greater good of the world. I have decided to follow this path among many others like me, will you?