Do you think donations and second hand shops could be the best ways to deal with textile waste?
I’d say yes. Let’s say you have some clothes that are still suitable for wear, just not for you anymore. For example, it got too small for your kid who’s now a teenager, or you just don’t like to wear it anymore. Most people would just throw it away in the garbage and forget about it. Now, you’re thinking that one pair of pants or that one shirt that you can wear anymore don’t make a big deal and it’s true but when it gets all together it builds and builds and create a monster of waste. Every year, Canada transports over 10.5 million tons of textile waste.
Imagine if we could reduce that. Every time you want new clothes, do you really need it to be new? Maybe you could just go to the thrift shop or a clothes swap? By doing so, it could reduce the pile of waste by a lot!
However, thrifts shops and clothes swaps aren’t all about donations. You need to shop there too. What happens if people just donate but don’t shop? Then, you’re basically just giving out your waste for someone else to take care of. It’s like an exchange or a trade. You give what you don’t want anymore and take what you find that caught your eyes and that you know you will definitely wear or use.
What happens in the other parts of the world? There are so many people in the world with good intentions but we need more than this. It should be about EVERYONE.
Textile waste isn’t only clothes; it’s people too. There are so many slaves in different countries, working in clothing factories under minimum wage.
Besides, in richer countries, many people don’t care about the “future” of their used clothes.
So, are donations and second hand shops really the best ways to deal with all this textile waste? Maybe not but at least it’s a start.
We could also try handing me downs, sewing your clothes when it’s possible. You can also recycle the textiles by turning them into something else (An old T-shirt can become a hammock for your cat; your pair of jeans can be used as sheet or fabric to add a new look for your bag.). Now, with the internet, we can easily find some tutorial of “Do it yourself”. If you are not crafty, you can ask her friend or someone from your family that could help.
If you combine all of that, it could really have a big impact.
You probably thought that the model’s outfit looks very fancy. But you can believe me when I tell you it was all ethical fashion. The dress she is wearing is a dress she got it from a clothes swap at the beginning of 2017. She got the shoes from her older sister and the purse/wallet was reused from her mother. For the bracelet, she also found it at a clothes swap, in March 2017. The guitar, in her hair, was from her aunt on her father’s side from her old hair set.
Editor’s Note: Melody is too young to enter this competition – so she collaborated with a friend to write and submit this blog post. She likes to go to Trusted Clothes monthly clothes swaps because it is an opportunity to play dress up without worrying about convincing her mother to buy her the clothes she finds. Convincing her mother to let her wear it out of the house is another thing!