Second-hand clothing a way to reduce eco footprint


Buying second hand clothing is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. Photo: David Burke (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the world, and fast fashion is a major cause of this.

Put simply fast fashion is the rapid production of cheap clothes by mass retailers.

You may not have thought about it but the clothes you own and the ones we carelessly throw away are hurting our environment.

In the past 15 years clothing production as doubled.

Every 10 minutes, 6 thousand kilograms of clothes are tossed, ending up in landfill and taking months if not years to degrade.

Most clothes contain microplastic particles which fall out over time and end up in oceans, posing a danger to marine life.

In one year, 1 hundred thousand marine creatures are killed from plastic.

But there are ways you can help prevent all of this.

Buying second-hand garments is a sustainable way to reduce your eco footprint because it doesn’t add to the construction of new clothes.

Grace Thalman is the manager of a consignment store in Hobart.

In an article for the ABC she said she wants people to choose the growing trend of preloved clothing over fast fashion.

“It’s a really fun way to express yourself and explore your unique style as well as being able to support a more sustainable way of shopping,” she said.

Another alternative is to take advantage of the stacks of free clothes… in your own wardrobe.

When looking at your clothes, I guarantee you could point out a dozen pieces you’ve hardly worn.

This is because we only wear 20% of our clothes, 80% of the time.

ABC presenter Tahlea Aualiitia challenged herself to not buy new clothes in 2020 and only use what she had.

In a story for her employer, she said the biggest hurdle she’s faced three months in, was getting out of the mentality that you need something new to wear.

“I haven’t really repeated an outfit yet – so even if I just cycled the three months again, I would only wear these outfits like four times a year,” she said.

Impulse shopping increases dumping, it’s that simple.

The global fashion waste is predicted to grow by 60% between 2015 and 2030.

So instead of buying new, buy second hand, reuse, swap with friend or ask yourself before you buy something will you use it more than 10 times?

If the answer is no, leave it.

It takes 2 thousand 7 hundred litres of water to make one cotton shirt.

That’s enough water for one person to drink for 2 and half years.

If we don’t act now by 2050, we could see rising sea levels, heat and flood waves and even a decrease in wildlife and their habits.

This is what fast fashion waste is having an impact on, and why action must be taken.

Although it’s hard to tell ourselves not to buy those new shoes or that new t-shirt, all the evidence points to this: we desperately need to be thinking sustainable, for the earth’s survival as well as our own.