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Taking a sustainable approach to dressing can be as simple as sharing and swapping!

Taking a sustainable approach to dressing can be as simple as sharing and swapping!
By Sara Pacifici October 14, 2019 4449 Views

Taking a sustainable approach to dressing can be as simple as sharing and swapping!

While most consumer goods, such as food and medicine, have grown more costly over time, clothing has become cheaper. The statistics are shocking. Lower prices are driven by overseas production where labor is cheaper. Cheaper materials, such as polyester, have also helped keep prices low. Unfortunately, cheap clothing has a high cost for people and the planet. Synthetic fabrics like polyester require vast amounts of energy to produce, while the chemicals used in production are often toxic. The working conditions in foreign clothing factories can also be dangerous.

Today, there are several ethical fashion brands attempting to address these problems. They pledge to use eco-friendly fabrics and non-toxic dyes while paying their workers a fair wage. Unfortunately, this adds to costs, with higher prices passed down to consumers.

Can most people afford to be eco-conscious? How can you remain true to your principles without busting your budget?

One approach is to choose sustainable clothing, but buy less of it. There’s another solution too: Instead of shopping less, shop smarter. If you know where to look, you can find clothing that’s both good for the planet and for your wallet.

The greenest choice of all is to reuse and recycle clothing. Recycling reduces waste and energy use, but reusing clothes eliminates waste products altogether.

The easiest way to reusing clothing is by passing on old clothes to new users. Simply shop at a thrift store or use hand-me-downs.

However, even when clothes start to wear out, it’s often possible to salvage usable material. Some sustainable clothing brands have made a business of reconfiguring old clothing. This type of reuse is often called “reworking.”

For shoppers who are both eco-conscious and budget conscious, used clothes are the best option. Because second-hand clothes are reused, they require no new materials to produce: No extra energy, water, or toxic chemicals are added when they change hands from their previous owner.

Keeping used clothing out of the waste stream means there’s less need for new landfills. It also saves on energy used to collect and dispose of trash. Best of all, used clothes cost far less than new ones. In some cases, you can pick up perfectly good, new-to-you clothes for no money at all.

Swapping clothing in person is even easier – and more fun – than swapping online. At a clothing swap party, friends bring their unwanted clothing. After trying on each other’s discards, you select the ones you’d like to take home. You can get rid of all your old clothes and obtain new ones you’ll actually wear without spending a penny. Clothing swaps are particularly good for kids’ clothes, which are often outgrown before they wear out. A swap lets you pass on these still-good clothes to younger children and get larger clothes for free.






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