Most people would agree that clothing is absolutely essential when raising a family—especially when you have winters that feel 6 months long! Unfortunately, there are now more things to consider when keeping your family dressed.
According to the CBC Marketplace’s investigation in January 2018, North Americans are throwing 12 million tons of textile waste in the landfill on a YEARLY basis. Much of this is due to our changing attitude towards clothing in general and treating it as if it is disposable. This has a negative effect on our planet and on the treatment of those making our clothing.
But fear not! There are several ways that you can make a difference:
- Buy clothing second hand. There is no doubt that we have an overabundance of clothing in our first-world society. So much of it goes to waste because it is no longer in style, or it doesn’t fit us right, even though it is in perfectly good shape. More and more second hand or consignment stores are opening to help give life to these clothes. Consider purchasing gently used items for yourself or your child and you will divert a lot of textile waste from the landfill.
- Seek out hand-me-downs. This is a personal favourite of mine as it is both eco-friendly and free. If you know parents who have children that are slightly older than yours, chances are they have bins of clothing that they don’t know what to do with. A kind offer to take the clothes off their hands (or at least borrow them) will probably be well received!
- Do your research. If the first two options do not suit your lifestyle, research brands that promote sustainable practices or make their clothes ethically. It is certainly not impossible to employ people overseas and pay them fair wages. Nor is it difficult to find local brands that use recycled textiles or other sustainable materials to make their products.
- Seek sustainable materials. Organic cotton and bamboo cloth, though controversial for some reasons, are better options than conventional cotton, which requires pesticides and a lot of water to thrive. There are many companies out there committed to using sustainable materials to create their wares.
Whatever you choose, remember that every time you go for one of the above options, you have a positive impact. Let’s work together to vote with our dollar and support companies and businesses that are trying to make our world a better place!
Do you have a second hand store or sustainable business that you support?
CBC Marketplace on Textile Waste: https://www.cbc.ca/news/thenational/clothes-from-canada-account-for-huge-waste-cbc-marketplace-1.4494444
Want more green parenting tips, links to products, vegetarian/vegan recipes, or to learn more about our planet? Follow Meera (thegreenmum) on Instagram: www.instagram.com/thegreenmum
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