The most recent EPA report on the ‘Nature and Extent of Post- Consumer Textiles in Ireland’ finds that we import a colossal 292,000 tonnes of new textiles each year, which equates to about 35kg per person. The report also shows that only a small proportion of these, just over 30%, find their way to textiles banks and second hand shops, what's happening to the rest of them?
To reduce our waste, we need to look at how and where we consume. Buying cheap, poor quality clothing and textiles from popular high street stores and online [you know who they are] is ultimately a false economy as many of these items don’t survive their first wear or wash, if they even make it that far.
Many times, in fact far too many times, what you have been sold is very different from what you receive in the post. We’ve all seen the hauls and memes on social media highlighting expectations vs reality, which can be hilarious, but this has now become the norm when buying from these brands. By default, we factor in that a certain percentage of what we get will not be what we purchased.
We are all aware of the problem, so let’s try and play our part with some solutions. One which is the least expensive and becoming easier to access, is buying pre-loved ones. There are second-hand and charity shops in nearly every town up and down the country and, for those who prefer to shop from the comfort of your own home, there are lots of websites and apps to choose from too. We’ve highlighted some of these here and you can find a very comprehensive list on the Living Lightly in Ireland blog post.
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There are also apps and sites out there to allow you to sell clothes which you may not be wearing. Take a good hard look at your wardrobe. If you have items that you haven't worn for at least six months and you spent your hard-earned cash on them, why not sell them using sites like DePop, Adverts or Facebook.
Another great way to minimise your consumption of clothing is to look at rental. If you have a black tie event, a wedding, a debs or even just a night out that you want to get dressed up for there are loads of options out there.
Check out some of our previous articles and posts about textiles and fast fashion.
Author- Declan Breen