In North America, we send 9.5 million tonnes of clothing to landfills every year, 95% of which can be reused or recycled (Recycling Council of Ontario).
Over the past 4 years, we have nearly doubled our consumption of textiles including clothing with the introduction of "fast fashion". Fast fashion has given individuals the opportunity to buy a lot of clothing for very little cost, which makes it a lot easier to throw items out when they are no longer in style or no longer suit the individuals' needs. The current model of fashion focuses on profit without considering the true cost on the people working in the industry or the environment.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world (second to the oil industry).
Fast fashion causes:
- water pollution
- water consumption
- microfibres in our oceans
- waste accumulation
- rainforest destruction
and so much more.
We are at a point where we need to make the decision to change. Change the way we view fashion, change the way we make purchases, and change the way we dispose of our clothing.
Ways to combat textile waste:
1. Shop second-hand
2. Purchase clothing from companies who make sustainable pieces, locally wherever possible to further reduce the environmental impact
3. Swap and share clothing with your friends and family or create a group in the community
4. Donate your old clothing to a local second-hand or consignment store
5. Use old clothing for useful household items such as rags, pajamas, cloths, etc.