This week we’re talking about fast fashion and textile waste — AKA your clothes.
If you look at the tags on your clothing, you will notice they are all made of a combination of materials, most often polyester, cotton, and spandex. Much like plastic recycling, when materials are mixed to make a product, the combination makes clothing difficult to recycle and unfortunately most (upwards of 99%) clothing is eventually landfilled.
There are many companies and organizations working on textile recycling, but the problem won’t be solved simply through the recycling model. Clothing cannot be efficiently turned into more clothing. Actually, it's cheaper to just produce more.
In the online world we live and shop in today, it’s so easy to have new clothes delivered to your home. If they don’t fit or if you don’t like them, you can send the items back for a full refund. Unfortunately, this process creates a lot of waste for us, not only as the consumer. As we buy more clothing than we need, this in turn creates a lot of waste for the retailer as well.
There are investigations that show where clothing ordered online and returned ends up. Many times it isn’t back to the warehouse to be sold to someone else, as that costs the company more money. But where does it go? To the landfill of course.
So, what is the answer to the fast fashion problem? The solution starts with all of us as consumers. If we purchase only the clothing that we need and purchase higher quality materials that will last longer, we will create less textile waste as our clothing will have a longer life.