Do you think about what materials you’re buying when making clothing purchases?
Style shouldn't cost the Earth. Make a fashion statement this Plastic-Free July by embracing sustainable choices and reducing plastic waste. Plastic-free July is a great initiative to reduce plastic waste and make sustainable choices, but you might not automatically think of this in relation to your fashion choices.
Plastic has unfortunately become prevalent in the fashion industry, particularly through the use of synthetic materials derived from oil, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic. These synthetic fibres have gained popularity due to their affordability, durability, and versatility.
However, their production and disposal contribute to several environmental issues:
1. Environmental Impact: The production of synthetic fabrics involves the extraction of non-renewable resources and the use of chemicals, energy, and water. It contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and depletion of natural resources.
2. Microplastic Pollution: When synthetic garments are washed, they release tiny plastic fibres called microplastics into the water, eventually reaching oceans and harming marine life. Microplastics are also found in clothing with plastic-based embellishments like sequins.
3. Landfill Waste: Synthetic fabrics are not biodegradable, and discarded clothing made from these materials can persist in landfills for hundreds of years. As the fashion industry produces a significant amount of waste, plastic-based textiles contribute to the growing problem of textile waste.
I had also never thought about the source of the oil and where it was linked to. In a recent Changing Markets report it explains the route back to Russia and that in essence the Fashion industry is feeding their pockets during the war through their supply chains. Even more reason for us all to vote with our wallets and move away from the multi faceted true cost of disposable fashion like polyester.
In another recent report 'Synthetic Anonymous' Changing Markets revealed fashion brands are doubling down on fossil fuels for fibre in a climate emergency. The report shares the top culprits who are still filling their ranges with fossil fuel based fabrics, unsurprisingly Boohoo was the worst culprit with 64% synthetics of total fibre. 25% of brands have INCREASED their use of fibres made from fossil fuels like oil and gas.
So What Can We Do to Create Change? Here are some tips for Plastic-Free Fashion this July:
1. Choose natural fibres: clothing made from natural materials like organic cotton, linen, hemp, or bamboo. These fabrics are biodegradable and have a lower environmental impact compared to synthetic materials.
2. Avoid synthetic fabrics: Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic are derived from plastic and contribute to microplastic pollution. Try to minimise or avoid purchasing items made from these materials.
3. Second-hand and vintage shopping: Consider buying pre-loved clothing from charity shops, preloved/vintage shops, or online platforms. It's a circular way to reduce waste and give clothes a second life.
4. Avoid things like recycled polyester being dressed up as ‘sustainable’, despite the fact that this is lower impact than virgin polyester, it still stops plastic bottles being in a circular system of recycling and it still sheds microplastics when washed.
5. Say no to plastic packaging: When shopping for clothes, opt for items that have minimal or plastic-free packaging. Look for brands that use recyclable or biodegradable packaging materials instead. And take along your reuseable tote bag!
6. Avoid throwing clothing away: Synthetic fabrics are not biodegradable, and discarded clothing made from these materials can persist in landfills for hundreds of years. Try to mend rather than throwing away if a zip breaks or you get a hole in your clothing. There are plenty of services available if you don’t have time yourself.
7. Garment care: Take good care of your clothes to extend their lifespan. Use a guppy bag or similar to collect microplastics when washing synthetics.
Small changes in your fashion choices can make a significant difference in reducing plastic waste. How many of the above can you tick off? Had you heard of all of these before? I’d love to hear in the comments. If you'd like some help changing your shopping habits for the better, I'd love to support you on your journey, book in for your free Style Consultation HERE.
Fashion has the power to change the world. Let's make a positive impact this July by choosing plastic-free, sustainable alternatives.