In the wake of World Fair Trade Day (14th May '16) we at Beaumont Organic are celebrating their theme 'Be an Agent for Change' by looking at how we can all get involved in making small changes and becoming more conscious consumers.
So if you want to be an agent for change then here are 6 easy steps to becoming a more sustainable shopper!
1. Educate Yourself
To keep up with the demands of new, inexpensive clothing, many brands have turned to cheap labour with unsafe working conditions and more chemical based fabrics. It's merely a quick fix with detrimental long term consequences. Here are some numbers for you to get your head around!
2,100,000 = Tonnes of CO2 emissions produced by the apparel and textile industry each year
10% = The percentage of the world’s total carbon footprint that comes from the apparel industry
150,000,000,000 = The number of new clothing items produced each year
2720 = Litres of water it takes to make one t-shirt
60,000,000,000 = Square metres of annual textiles waste
30% = The amount of clothing in our wardrobes that haven't been worn in the last year
1.5 = Tonnes of CO2 clothing consumption produces per household per year
2,500,000,000 = Pounds of used clothing that end up in landfills each year
61% = The percentage of clothing companies that don’t know where their garments were made
£44 = The monthly wage of a garment worker in Bangladesh
76% = The percentage of companies that don’t know where their fabrics were woven, knit, or dyed
2. Choose well = Buy less
The desire for fast fashion is ever growing; the majority of the population are now buying more than ever but paying less than we ever have. As clothing gets cheaper, we don't need to think about purchases anymore. Gone are the days where we ponder over our decisions, if your bank account isn't suffering then why not treat yourself! But it's not only our overflowing wardrobes that are suffering, it's the landfills where our out of trend, poor quality and cheap clothing inevitably ends up. Durability is a key factor in the environmental impact of a garment because for every year that you own it, the carbon footprint decreases. Wouldn’t you rather own one fantastic product that will last you forever instead of 10 cheap ones that barely make it through one wash cycle?
3. Plan your Wardrobe
It sounds extremely straight forward, but simply knowing what is in your wardrobe and what you do/don’t need can make a huge difference. We're all guilty of just grabbing the same old outfits over and over again, but doing a fashion inventory can solve some of our problems. It gives you the opportunity to re-home the items that you’ll never wear and also retrieve long lost loved items that you forgot you had stashed away. And after all that wardrobe cleansing you can now go shopping with a purpose; to fill up the space you’ve created with the items you really need! With a pre-prepared list, you’re now all set to purchase good quality staples that will last you for years and give you more than just one outfit option. It’s all about shopping thoughtfully, carefully curating, and resisting the urge to buy a cheap £10 garment just because ‘it’s cheap so why not?’.
4. Give priority to natural fibres
Did you know that it can take synthetic materials like acrylic, polyester and nylon, up to 1000 years to decompose? These materials account for a huge chunk of the clothing that’s sitting in our landfills right now. Many synthetic fibres are made from the same chemicals that create plastic bags and bottles, and the raw ingredients for these fibres comes from the petrochemical and crude oil industry, which clearly have a huge negative impact on the environment. Choosing all natural fabric is just one way that you can work your way towards a more sustainable wardrobe.
100% Wool Jumper and Hat by Beaumont Organic - coming soon for A/W16!
5. Know your garments journey
As you may be aware, at the end of April people from all over the world took part in Fashion Revolution Week. It marked 3 years since the Rana Plaza disaster in which 1,134 innocent lives were lost with thousands more injured in the worst industrial accident to hit the garment industry. The tragedy sparked the beginning of a movement to strive for a transparent fashion industry where nobody has to suffer. Fashion Revolution believe “that fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way – where creativity, quality, environment and people are valued equally.” So when you’re buying your clothes, think about how many steps are taken in order to get that garment to you. Does it have a clean history? Do you know who made it? Do you know if it was ethical? If you’re not sure, then ask.
6. Recycle & Donate!
Recycling your clothes is probably the simplest way to reduce your own personal carbon footprint. Many charities are grateful of any donations as long as they are in fairly good condition. However, recycling doesn’t necessarily have to mean dumping them in a bag and popping them in your local charity shop any more, there are plenty more options available. Why not get together with your friends and have a clothes swap party? Many cities across the UK now hold huge vintage clothes swap events where you can buy a kg of second hand clothing for as little as £15!
So will you join us in being an agent for change? If you have any more tips for being a more Sustainable Shopper, then get in touch via our social media pages!