About a year and a half ago., we published what turned out to be one of our most popular blog posts of the year. It was about my 6-month challenge to shop in my closet. At the time, I was doing it because I wanted to refrain from a shopping habit I had developed over a few years of buying stuff even when I didn’t need to. Little did I know my exercise was doing more than just saving me money and space; it was helping reduce my carbon footprint. It was a pretty awesome discovery, which compelled me to do some digging around for more information.
Did you know the fashion industry contributes 1,715 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is more than the aviation and shipping industries combined! (Yeah, I know! my reaction was one of shock too!)
The fashion industry contributes more carbon emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined!
Sadly, many of us are contributing to these emissions unintentionally merely through our shopping habits. Not to worry, though. We did some research and discovered some easy ways you can make a difference! We even found a tool that calculates your closet’s carbon footprint!
Here is how you can easily reduce your closet’s carbon footprint and still be fashionable:
- Buy vintage (ahem…secondhand) clothes. This is not your mother’s secondhand clothes shopping, though. Today, there are many convenient places to buy stylish vintage clothes, including online retailers ThredUp, Etsy, The RealReal, Swap.com, and more. Aside from helping you save the planet, vintage will make you stand out because you’re highly unlikely to find someone else with the same piece. And who doesn’t want to be unique!
- Shop in your closet. You would be amazed at how many outfits you can pull together from your closet, especially if you’re not in the habit of repeating your clothes for special occasions. I was shocked (and a little embarrassed to find clothes and shoes, which still had tags on them) during my 6-month shop in my closet challenge!
- Rent your outfit. If you’re going for a special occasion and you know you’ll never wear the outfit again (think ball gowns and tuxes), you can always rent it. You have plenty of rental options, such as Nuuly, Haberdash, Rent the Runway, Switch, and more.
- Resell your clothes, shoes, accessories, and more. There are many online consignment stores, to choose from including Rebag, The RealReal, Poshmark, and more. Alternatively, you can opt to sell them to your local offline consignment stores.
- Donate to Goodwill or your local thrift store. It’s always easy to find a drop off close to where you live.
- Donate to non-profits, such as Dress for Success, an organization that provides women professional attire to wear to job interviews and work.
- Hand it down. Pass and accept clothes to/from friends and family. As long as they’re in good condition, most folks will gladly accept them.
- Wash your clothes less. Unless you’re out in the fields all day farming or working in an environment where your clothes are likely to get dirty, you can get to wear them for at least 2 to 3 times. One simple trick I use is to air the clothes on a hanger after each wear for a week before you put them back in your closet.
- Hang dry your clothes. This simple change not only reduces the carbon footprint but also helps your clothes last longer. It also reduces your electric bill since you’re using your dryer less (anything to save some cash people!)
In today’s world, it seems that everywhere we turn, there is a disaster happening due to climate change. Whether it’s the recent Australian fires, hurricanes in Puerto Rico or collapsing glaciers in Antarctica, it’s easy to throw our hands up in the air and feel like anything we do is inconsequential. After all, you might ask, what will change to my shopping habits do to curb such disasters? Our answer, we strongly believe lies in the aggregate; if everyone does the same thing you’re doing to reduce the carbon footprint, it will have a larger impact on our planet. So go ahead and do it and encourage your friends and family to do it too because there’s strength in numbers!
Have any additional ideas on how to reduce our carbon footprint in the fashion space? Please share because the more we know, the more we can do to protect our environment.