September 24, 2018 Wendy and Susie
This is that time of year when we begin to change over our closets and drawers. Summer clothes out; winter attire in. As you sort through your clothes, you may end up with two piles: "keep" and "dispose."
At LBK, we exist to #sharethewarmth, but one of our important goals is to do something to save the earth by creating beautiful, upcycled items from others' cast-offs. The sweaters we salvage from thrift stores to felt into mittens, neck warmers, headbands, and infinity scarvesrepresent a tiny fraction of what otherwise ends up in landfills as textile waste.
We share this planet, so we consciously consider what we can do to protect it. As you bag up those clothes you no longer use, here are a few quick facts and some creative options to help you #reducereuserecyle.
1. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year. Only 3.8 billion pounds of all textile waste is recycled intentionally by the textile recycling industry, and that number only accounts for 15 percent of all post-consumer textile waste. The rest ends up in landfills, here or overseas.
2. Fast fashion is the enemy of the environment. Rethinking "single season" clothing purchases means we're less likely to contribute to the carbon footprint such disposable fashion creates. Making a conscious choice about how much clothing you'll purchase each year will not only save you money. It will minimize the effort you'll expend later as you try to figure out how to ethically dispose of it when you've finished wearing it.
3. Alternatives to fast fashion exist. If you choose to invest in clothing that is designated fair trade, you'll pay significantly more for it. But these companies have better working conditions for their employees and share our desire to do their part to save the earth. (Click hereto view a PDF created by nonprofit Mercy House Global which lists over 75 fair trade clothing manufacturers.)
4. Another way to dispense with clothing you no longer need or want is to host a swap with your friends and neighbors. Watch this or read thisto learn more about this creative, fun, upcycling social event! One caution: Taking unclaimed items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or some other charity doesn't guarantee the items will be worn again. Such organizations give donated items a 30-day window before they are pulled and sold by the pound. Consider checking with social workers or places that upcycle business attire for those reentering the marketplace before dropping your clothes at a charitable organization.
Earth911.com maintains a nationwide database of recycling centers for a wide variety of items. You may not be aware that your town has textile recycling available. Click hereto investigate your options!
Although the sweaters we repurpose comprise a very small amount of what actually becomes textile waste, we're doing something. And if everyone did something, together we could make a huge impact on this problem in the US.