Textiles are a major part of our modern lives, but they can also be made in both wasteful and unfair ways. Not only are many people exploited to create certain brands of textiles, but they are thrown away into landfills on a regular basis, never to be recycled or re-used.
Groups like the Anchal Project have worked to combat this, but it is not just about the global textile market. How can you, as an individual, help to reduce your textile waste and buy from ethical sources?
One of the most effective measures you can take to reduce textile waste is by repairing your own textiles. Learning even basic sowing skills can give you a huge range of options when it comes to making your clothing wearable again, and small rips are very easily solved.
While there will always be clothing that is too damaged to wear again, you can salvage the materials to help repair other clothes or even make brand new items of clothing. You might need some practice to get good enough for larger jobs, but any skills at sowing are better than non.
Sowing a patch onto a damaged piece of clothing is just the start, but it is surprisingly effective. As you get better, you can keep your clothing together for an excessively long amount of time, meaning that you will not have to buy or throw away many things in the near future.
Beyond repairs, there is also the fact that you can adjust clothing. While some adjustments require some complex skills to work best, you can do some very interesting things with little more than some scissors.
For example, you might have old pants that still fit you but are not short enough to stay comfortable. You can always simply cut part of the legs away to make them more appropriate to your normal clothing and style, and you can keep the extra material to improve or repair other clothes too.
You can also have adjustments done by tailors or other professionals, such as adding or replacing zippers and helping to extend certain items of clothing. Not only can you keep your favorite items of clothing, but you can also make them unique, one-of-a-kind items.
All clothing is worth donating since there will always be people who need more and can’t afford it. Even if some of your items of clothing are a bit worn down or in need of some repairs, it is still worth donating them just in case – you never know who will get them.
This can make a huge difference to other people’s lives, and it also ensures that the fabrics and textiles are not thrown away. This might be the better option if you are not skilled enough to repair or modify your own clothing since it only requires that you bundle them up in bags.
If your clothes are still of great quality – and belong to a brand that people like – then you could even resell them for money. This is not always a viable option, but it is a good way to pass them onto a specific person while also earning a little bit extra money in the process.
Avoid Disposable Fabrics
There are some products that are designed to be disposable, such as (non-reusable) cleaning rags. While these are not all that common, they are a massive waste and a huge problem for people who want to be sustainable with their fabric usage. On top of that, they can be expensive.
Instead of buying brand new cleaning rags, you could always tear up an old shirt to use instead, saving you money and getting rid of clothing that you no longer wear. Buying reusable fabrics and textiles is always better than non-reusable ones when you are trying to avoid creating waste.
It is a good idea to consider which products actually have fabrics and textiles in them since you might not realize how many you actually buy. Some makeup equipment can have a lot of textiles as parts of their designs, and certain shopping bags might use an unnecessarily high amount of them.
Upcycle Old Clothing
If you have a lot of old clothes lying around and can’t really donate or repair them, then you can always upcycle them into other things. These textiles and fabrics are suitable for all kinds of interesting creations, with some materials being better at specific things.
For example, you might take the stretchy waistband of some old leisure pants to make a kind of belt or turn cotton shirts into pads for removing makeup. There are countless examples of people that have used their old clothing to create bags, pillows, and even larger projects like curtains.
While this can be tricky at first, having so many different ways to dispose of your clothes can be very useful. Not only do you not waste any fabrics, but you can create things that you would have otherwise had to buy, saving you money and training your DIY textile skills.
Whatever you decide to do with your textiles, re-using them is better than simply throwing them away. It does not just have to be clothes, either.
Hiring a dumpster from a company like EWM Dumpster Rental gives you a great way to dispose of furniture, so you can strip the fabric off a couch and then recycle the wood in the dumpster itself. Curtains, seating, beds, and even carpets can all be re-used in many different, creative ways.