Challenge #29: Think before buying new clothes

Don’t buy new clothes unless you really, really need them.

Buy less clothes

“Buy less, choose well.”

-Vivienne Westwood

Hey, guys!

At this point, many of you might be wondering what does buying new clothes has to do with being a good earthling. Well, quite a lot. Over the past few years “old” clothes, the clothes we often discard too fast became quite a problem. Clothes represent a large portion of world’s waste.

Bellow, we’ve prepared some concerning facts that will help you see how big of a problem this actually is. We’ll also give you a couple of suggestions on how you can help us reduce clothes waste.

Facts about clothes
  • The average American throws out 82 pounds of clothes every year.
  • The world textile and clothing industry reached just shy of $2,560 trillion in 2010.
  • Average American household spends over $1,700 on footwear, apparel and related products and services each year.
  • Millions of tons of unused fabric go to waste each year when dyed the wrong color.
  • A single mill in China can use over 200 tons of water per one ton of fabric it dyes.
  • Workers in apparel manufacturing industry are being exploited to an unimaginable extent.
  • 85 % of world’s textiles end up in a landfill.
  • Clothes are the second largest source of pollution, after oil.

Clothes are waste

What is the leading cause of the problem?

The route of the problem is the ultra fast-changing trends. According to data regarding clothes production, retailers are making clothes faster than ever to keep up with seasonal trends. As such, clothes go out of style very fast and people discard them to buy new ones that just came in style. It’s up to us to stand against fashion industry!

Moreover, most of the modern clothes are made in massive production since they want to reduce the production costs as much as possible. Consequently, the quality of clothes is highly reduced. As the result, many clothes are way less durable and get worn out much faster.

How to reduce clothes waste?

One of the possible solutions is to give/sell your old clothes to second-hand stores. However, many of those are already full of clothes that people simply don’t want to buy. That way second-hand stores have to discard them to make room for clothes coming in every day. Bottom line, second-hand stores simply can not keep up with the pace of ultra fast changing seasonal trends.

You can also donate clothes. Click on the link, it will take you to one of our previous posts, where we discuss clothes donating into details. Even though donating clothes is a very good option, there are limits to how much clothes can organizations accept.

How to donate clothes

The best thing we can all do is to rethink our way of buying clothes. As first, we must buy less, way less. Secondly, we must say no to low-quality clothing. Unfortunately, for an average buyer, the price is the only indication of the quality. However, you must be aware that a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality and more lasting product. Since it can be hard to pinpoint the quality of the clothes you must focus on the first suggestion – buy less.

Do the best you can to feel happy and content with the clothes you already own. Also, don’t discard clothes with small damages, such as zip dysfunction or a missing button. Many of those can be easily fixed. There are tailors who do that kind of repairs, or you can always learn to fix those yourself. All you need is a home sewing kit.

Think outside the box

You should also start thinking outside the box. There are many ways to use old, even partly damaged clothes to turn them into useful and good looking things. Like this old-shirt-into-a-bag transformation:

We are sure you’ve all heard of “Clothes make the man” quote, but we like this one better:

“If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies … It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better that the meat wrapped inside it.”

-Albert Einstein

Take-home points:

Have a nice week.


Good Earthlings

10 thoughts on “Challenge #29: Think before buying new clothes

  1. This is such an important post. A lot of clothes are being purchased and discarded too quickly just in the interests of keeping up with fashion.
    It is a scary stat that the average American throws away 82 pounds of clothes a year. I wonder what that stat is for the whole world. Scary!!

    • Hi, Keith!

      It sure is scary. We tried to find stats for the whole world, but didn’t find any specific numbers.

      Warm regards!

  2. Hi,
    Great article. You highlight some harrowing thoughts about the industry. I had no idea that 85% of the worlds textiles end up in the waste. I like your cloths donation tip. Not only are you helping the less fortunate but you are also doing your bit to save the planet.

  3. Hello,
    this post and your whole website is so awesome and important for the whole humanity and the planet. I think that most people don´t know how much resources are being wasted for our clothes, I am talking especially about water!
    Thank you for this article, because you are contributing to improve our awareness about the topic. Personally, I am Italian, and we love to buy new clothes, but in my case I really only pick the pieces that I know I will wear for a long time and that which I don´t use I give it normally to my cousins and nephew.
    Thank you and have a great day!

    • Simon, you’re more than welcome. It’s our pleasure. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay in touch.

      Best regards

  4. Wow those facts about clothing are astounding! I hate shopping so I’m pretty good about not buying too much clothing although I do find that when I finally do go shopping and buy a few things there is almost always one thing that I end up not liking and barely wearing. Even though I try on the clothing in the store for some reason some things just change when you get home!

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Batya.

      Stay in touch.

      WR, Good Earthlings

  5. Hello Good Earthling,

    Thanks for raising awareness of this issue. I personally don’t buy a whole lot of apparels, but I have friends who are just fashion magnet. They wouldn’t wear anything that is no longer trendy.

    I will inform them of this article and hope they would learn from your article and start donating.

    Most of my trendy friends would just keep these clothes in their closet until they cant fit anymore new ones. Instead of donating them, they would just throw it in the trash contributing to pollution.

    Thanks again,

    • Hi, Eric!

      You’re more than welcome. It’s our pleasure to share that kind of information.

      Don’t be a stranger

      Warm regards

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