When you’re making the transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, one of the best places you can start is your closet. It’s estimated that 84 percent of unwanted clothes wind up in landfills or incinerators. In addition, the average American is thought to generate 82 pounds of textile waste every year. Yeah, that’s a lot of trash.
That’s why Gittemary Johansen, a zero-waste content creator, lecturer, and writer, created a video for Brightly’s new YouTube channel (don’t forget to hit that subscribe button!) to share her top sustainable fashion tips. From repairing old clothes to skipping laundry day, they’ll help you make your closet more eco-friendly in no time.
5 Sustainable Fashion Tips to Keep in Mind
1. The Most Sustainable Swap Is the One You Already Have
While it’s temping to go out and buy the latest and greatest from sustainable fashion brands, dust off your older items first. “Before looking to buy new things, look in your closet and find ways to use what you already have,” Johansen says. “That will always be the most sustainable.”
2. Repair and Upcycle Clothes
Because of all the waste produced from the textile industry, consider a more eco-friendly option before getting rid of your clothes. If you have something with tears or rips, Johansen says you can easily mend them. And if an item is thoroughly damaged, there’s a solution there, too: “You can upcycle those parts into makeup remover wipes, tote bags, reusable gift wrapping, pillow cases, and much more,” she says.
3. Don’t Wash Clothes That Aren’t Dirty
Here’s your excuse to avoid doing laundry for a little bit longer. “We’re all sometimes guilty of throwing things into the laundry bin because we don’t know where else to put it. Then we end up washing a lot of stuff that didn’t really need washing,” she says. “Stuff like jeans, trousers, and many different shirts and sweaters don’t need to be washed after just one wear.”
When it is time to do laundry, make your routine even more sustainable by using eco-friendly laundry products.
4. Reduce Your Consumption of Fast Fashion
If you needed another reason to cut down on the amount of trendy fast fashion pieces you’re buying, this is it.
“The fast fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world, and there’s a really good reason for this: It produces over 80 billion pieces of clothing every single year. And that’s just too much clothing,” Johansen says. “The industry is also responsible for global water pollution, resource waste, and tons of human rights issues. Only about two percent of garment workers in the world are paid a livable wage.”
5. Don’t Buy Into Trends
Johansen says new trends are manufactured every week to keep consumers buying more clothing they don’t need. Getting out of the mindset that you need to be part of these trends is hard: They’re advertised to us everywhere we turn, be it on TV or on social media. But she says that will only leave you with a bunch of clothes you’ll hardly wear. A better solution? Finding your own individual look, which will never go out of style.
For more five more tips, watch the rest of Gittemary’s video below: