You care about the environment and try to recycle your paper and plastics. Maybe you even bring glass to a recycling facility. You dispose of medical risks and batteries properly. Overall, you do a pretty good job of taking care of the land.
But maybe you could do more! Think about your clothes, towels, coats, rags and other textiles in your home. Do you know how they are made? What do you do with them when you don’t want them anymore? Unfortunately, we have an environmental crisis involving textile waste!
Most of us buy clothes and other textiles without thinking about how the items are made. Oh, we could look for a “Made in USA” label. But beyond that, it’s all the same, isn’t it? Not really. Did you know that producing a single cotton shirt requires up to 2,700 liters of water? No, it’s not a typo. Cotton is a very thirsty plant, according to the World Resources Institute.
In addition to consuming water while the plant is growing, producing and dyeing clothing and textiles is harsh on the environment. Pesticides are used on raw crops, and about 20% of the world’s industrial water pollution is from clothing manufacturing.
Synthetics aren’t necessarily better. While they certainly use less water, they can harm the environment with greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, their carbon footprint is huge.
Clothing production is increasing at a faster rate than ever. As billions more across the globe join the global middle class, demand for additional clothing will continue to soar, as will production.
Another factor in the excessive growth of textile production (and the resulting textile waste) is the longevity of clothing. Clothes are no longer made to be durable and worn year after year, but to have a much shorter lifespan. As a result of this turnover, more clothes are produced.
Left unchecked, the clothing industry will triple its resource consumption by 2050. Understanding how clothing and textiles are made, and the associated waste, could help you make different decisions about what, when, and when. how much you buy.
How can I help you?
Unless you join a nudist colony or wear clothes from the 70s, you still have to buy new clothes from time to time. But being conscientious about what you buy and how long you keep it can make all the difference. Buying better quality clothes and keeping them beyond a fashion of three months reduces the impact on the environment.
There are definitely benefits to keeping clothes on for longer. But unless you don’t throw out clothes so frequently, there are other ways you can help tackle textile waste. Using sites like Fair Trade can provide you with the names of companies that strive to be transparent in their manufacturing practices, minimize their impact on the environment, and pay fair wages to the workers who make the clothes. .
Along with choosing the right clothing manufacturer carefully, you can also tackle the environmental crisis by being determined in your own home and in your life, balancing the resources used to produce your clothes. For example, reduce your personal water consumption by
- take shorter showers
- use water and energy efficient washing machines
- not leaving the faucet running while you are doing the dishes or brushing your teeth
Small steps to reduce your water consumption can make a big difference. Did you know that the average American family wastes over 8,000 gallons per year on running water alone for washing dishes and brushing teeth?!?! Minimizing the environmental impact in your life can help alleviate some of the crises generated by textile waste to produce the clothes you wear.
You can also reduce your water waste and environmental pollution by using Envirobinz Trash Bin Cleaning Services, a family business, to clean your outdoor garbage cans. Envirobinz’s efficient method uses less water, no chemicals and collects dirty water for proper disposal. This leaves you with a clean, sanitized garbage can and the environment a little cleaner and happier.
You can join Envirobinz for a Great American Cleanup event on May 1 at the Spring Hill Library. The garbage collection event starts at 8 a.m. Clean-up areas will be chosen at the library, then volunteers can drive or carpool to selected areas and pick up trash. The event ends at noon, or whenever you feel like it is done. Spring Hill Library is located at 144 Kedron Parkway, Spring Hill, TN 37174