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Sustainability Saturdays

3/9/19: Slow Down Your Wardrobe (Emily Woodzicka)

EPA stats reveal that the average American throws away about 81 pounds of clothing every year. The fashion industry’s current “take-make-dispose” system creates greenhouse gas emissions of 1.2 billion tonnes a year—that’s “more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.” Clothes release half a million tonnes of microfibers into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles (Ellen MacArthur Foundation). These stats barely scratch the surface of the not so stylish impact of the fast fashion industry, but luckily for us, the industry is driven by consumers, so we can make the change!

  1. The first step is before you buy something. First, ask yourself if you really need this. If you’re having a bad day and looking for some retail-therapy, instead go on a walk, meet up with friends, or cook up something good.
  2. If you really need the product, consider if you REALLY need to buy this new, or if you could buy it used instead.
  3. If you must purchase a new apparel item, make sure that the purchase is versatile, timeless, and of a decent quality. Think of your clothing as having a life, and consider how it will age with you. Consider clothes that can easily be altered or repurposed, so that it will fit for years.
  4. Focus on quality rather than quantity when buying new, so that someone else can get use out of it after it no longer fits you.
  5. Choose fibers friendly to the soil: recycled fibers, linen, hemp, ramie, alpaca, silk, sustainably produced cotton, sustainably produced wool
  6. Avoid fibers that pollute the ocean, are toxic, and contribute to droughts: this includes cotton, wool, leather, cashmere, polyester, rayon, viscose, modal, bamboo, and vegan leather
  7. When a product no longer can be used by you, recycle it. Salvation army will pick up donations in Madison which is a great option for students. Also there are so many fun options like clothing swaps organized by student orgs, which are so worth going to.
  8. Keep being the beautiful, ethical, stylish human being you are

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