Huge amounts of clothes go to landfill each year (estimates suggest as many as 11 million items per week which is a mind boggling amount) and taking into account the energy and water needed to produce new clothes whether we really need to buy new (and what we do with clothes we no longer need) is something we all need to pay closer attention to. Oxfam estimates that more than two tonnes of clothing are bought every minute in the UK, producing nearly 50 tonnes of carbon emissions. That is equivalent to driving 162,000 miles in a car. We all know that driving less, walking more and using public transport are great ways we can reduce our impact on the planet but does it even cross our minds when we go clothes shopping?
I am joining Oxfam’s pledge to buy nothing new in September, choosing second hand alternatives or upcycling items I already own instead. If you are interested in joining the pledge too, you can sign up here.
This isn’t a totally new concept to me; I’ve seen the benefits of buying secondhand clothing in the past but my main motivation has always been to get a bargain so it’s good to know that I am making a sustainable choice at the same time.
I’ve been careful with clothes waste for a while now too. I always try to avoid binning clothes that I no longer need either by passing them on to friends & family, sending to the charity shop or selling.
A few small changes made by a lot of people can make a massive difference so maybe next time you need a new bag or shirt, check out your local charity shops, vintage fairs and good old eBay so see if you can give something a new lease of life and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.