3 Ways to Reverse Climate Change Through Fashion

It’s Earth Week y’all one of the holiest weeks for us eco-conscious babes. That’s why this week I’m bringing you an extra helping of eco-friendly fashion alternatives. As fun as fashion is it has a dark side. Thanks to an incredibly thorough report by Climate Works we now have solid data proving fashion is the 4th largest polluter in the world. If you enjoy looking at graphs and wading through numbers as much as I do I highly recommend reading it, if not, I’ll sum it up in one word and an acronym: depressing af.

You know all the trouble you go to take shorter showers and turn off lights when you leave the room? Well, that’s not really doing squat if you’re still buying fast fashion. I mean keep doing that stuff too of course, but if you really want to make a difference you must evaluate your closet.

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There’s a Spanish proverb “Un clavo saca otro clavo”. It translates to one nail drives out another nail and it means that in order to get over something you must fill it with something new. This saying perfectly exemplifies the beauty of eco-friendly fashion. At first glance it looks like fashion and a healthy planet are mutually exclusive, but but BUT a deeper look reveals that fashion can not only be environmentally friendly, it can also reverse the damage done to our planet.

Water consumption, plastic use, and the raising of livestock are the biggest environmental baddies in the fashion world. No matter how dire the situation is though, there is always hope if we can learn to take a new approach. With these 3 switches, you’ll be saving the planet in no time.

 

WATER WASTE?

The most common natural fiber used in clothing is conventional cotton. Unfortunately, cotton is a super thirsty crop.

  • It takes roughly 27,000 liters of water to make one cotton t-shirt.

  • Cotton uses more pesticides than any other crop.

  • These pesticides pollute the water and soil and kill non-target bugs like bees and other pollinators which leads to crop deficits and famine.

 

CHOOSE HEMP INSTEAD

Try buying clothing made from hemp instead of conventional cotton. Hemp is a wonder plant! It requires about 50% less water than cotton, it doesn’t require the use of pesticides, can be grown on marginal land so it won’t replace food crops, and it’s deep root structures prevent soil erosion. Plus it’s super soft! It's a win win win win.

  Hemp Destroyed Inside Out Tee  from Back Beat Rags

Hemp Destroyed Inside Out Tee from Back Beat Rags

 

 

POLYESTER POLLUTION?

Polyester comprises 60% of the clothing produced, and boy does it suck.

  • Made from fossil fuels

  • Producing polyester emits 706 billion KG of carbon emissions a year (equivalent to 185 coal-fired power plants)

  • When washed polyester sheds microfibers which leads to plastic pollution in the ocean

  • Takes up to 200 years to decompose

 

GO RECYCLED

Instead, buy items made from recycled Polyester! Most recycled polyester is made from recycled plastic water bottles which helps keep them out of landfills and our oceans. Plus every pound of rPET used reduces greenhouse gases by a whopping 71% and manufacturing rPET also requires 90% less water than virgin polyester.

 Recycled polyester leggings from  W  ise Fool . Photo by  Anais Ganouna

Recycled polyester leggings from Wise Fool. Photo by Anais Ganouna

 

 

ANIMAL POLLUTION?

Whether you're vegan or not, there's no debate that raising animals is one of the worst polluters on the planet.

  • According to the EPA, livestock is the biggest pollutants of waterways

  • Rainforests are clear-cut for livestock to graze

  • Growing food to feed livestock requires tons of fertilizer aka fossil fuels in the form of agrochemicals. The average steer consumes 284 gallons of oil in its lifetime

  • Tanning leather uses toxic chemicals such as chromium which is considered hazardous by the EPA, this also ends up in our waterways

 

CORK HAS YOUR BACK

A great natural alternative to leather is Cork Leather. It’s renewable! One cork oak tree can be harvested for about 200 years. It’s recyclable! It’s biodegradable! Plus, cork oaks capture up to 30% more carbon dioxide than other types of trees, thereby undoing some of the damage caused by leather production. And in case you’re worried cork leather won’t last as long as animal leather, don’t worry. I have a cork wallet from Pixie Mood and that sucker has seen a lot. I throw it in my bag, drop it in puddles, my cats have even batted it around and it’s still going strong.

 Croc textured Cork purse by  Rok Cork

Croc textured Cork purse by Rok Cork

 

See, what did I tell you? Fighting fashion pollution with conscious fashion is easy! And don’t you kind of feel like an eco-superhero when you do it? Hmmm maybe I need to get myself a recycled polyester cape......ANYWAY, if you really want to up your environment game, buy pre-loved fashion. It keeps clothes out of landfills, doesn't use up any more natural resources, and gives your closet a totally unique vibe.

Happy Earth week babes! What are you doing for Mother Earth this week?