8 Simple Ways to Reduce Fashion Waste


Clothing waste has become a massive problem due to fast fashion and the practices the industry uses to produce nearly 11 billion pounds of garbage per year. Reducing the amount of recyclable or reusable products we throw away can help make the world a better place. These 8 simple changes can help prevent the effects of climate change and improve sustainability.

1. Rent Clothing/Dresses

Did you know that you don’t have to buy your wardrobe to experience incredible clothing? There are plenty of retail stores and specialty shops, like this dress hire in Melbourne, that primarily focuses on bringing sustainability into the fashion industry by renting their clothing. Customers can choose from thousands of designer dresses, gowns, pants, shirts, and accessories that they can wear for an event then return without worrying about closet clutter.

2. Shop Second Hand

Before Macklemore made thrift shopping cool, few of us even walked into a second-hand store because of their bad reputation. That reputation wasn’t well-earned. Second-hand shops are incredible places that can result in some great finds like vintage pieces and designer clothing. Plus, most second-hand shops help their community by providing clothing for the homeless.

3. Donate to Charity

Charities are always looking for good quality clothing that can be reused, adjusted, or broken down for another use. In the UK, a company called Clothes Aid will pick up clothing from your home and deliver your old shirts, pants, and dresses to big, small, national, and regional charities. If you don’t live in or near the United Kingdom, there are still plenty of charities that will do something similar to have drop-off boxes that will sort through your discarded fabrics.

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4. Buy High-Quality Clothing

Fast fashion is killing our planet in more ways than one. Their often disregard for environmental and human rights issues is more than enough reason to stay clear of these large retailers. Although high-quality clothing does come with a higher price tag, it can be more economical because they last longer and won’t require you to spend on the same item more than once.

5. Upcycle Clothing if Possible

Unless it’s of inferior quality, most clothing can be upcycled and turned into pillowcases, blankets, or other items that you can wear. If your sewing skills aren’t up to snuff, you can use this opportunity to learn your way around a sewing machine by trying out a few patterns. After all, if you make a mistake, the garment would have been thrown out anyway. For the truly unsalvageable fabrics, rip them up and turn them into cleaning rags for your car.

6. Choose Environmentally Friendly Fabrics

Not all fabrics are capable of being recycled or composing back into the earth. One of these examples is polyester because it’s a petroleum-based fiber made from carbon-intensive and non-renewable resources. Hemp, cotton, silk, bamboo, abaca, and wool are all biodegradable and recyclable as long as they aren’t mixed with other synthetic fibers, like rayon. 

7. Resell Clothing

You’ve probably heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and this is true for all clothing, not just from designer brands. Since clothing bases itself on current trends, some items just aren’t available anymore or are difficult to obtain in designer shops. For example, the low-rise jean trend prevalent in the late 90s and early 2000s may still appeal to teens or adults that want to either try a new vintage look or re-live an old fashion trend.

8. Give Old Clothing to Friends

Some of our friends or family covet our wardrobes and wish they had an item of clothing that you wear frequently. If you don’t wear that item any more or are interested in buying something new, give it to a friend or invite them over for a clothes swap. Not only will this save you time and money from reselling, but it will also make your loved ones really happy.


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