- This article, contributed by Riley Rooney, intern for Kane County’s Division of Environmental and Water Resources, is Part 2 of a three-part series on Environmentally Conscious Shopping: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Whether you are cleaning out your closet or looking for a way to repurpose your clothing, here are a few ideas to reduce your impact on the environment.
Tip No.1: DIY your old clothes into something new.
If you feel like getting crafty with your used clothes, try giving them a new use!
You can turn old shirts into quilts, rugs, grocery bags and dish rags. Used jeans can be cut into shorts for warmer weather.
Button-up shirts are perfect to turn into new tops and clothes for kids.
You can cut the material of old flannel and add them to jeans to create a new look or give extra insulation in the winter months.
This helpful website gives visual DIY clothing projects that might spark some ideas for new style options.
Tip No. 2: Clothing swap with family and friends.
If you are getting tired of some of your clothing, offer them to your friends to see if they want them; they might in return give you some of their clothes that they are not fond of anymore.
I call this the win-win. You get rid of the clothes that you no longer want and gain new clothing to mix and match with the items that you still have at home. No money or shopping hassle involved.
As a parent, you can also seek to hand down your child’s clothing to other families who have children that would put it to good use and vice versa.
This can save a lot of money for parents as well as save you a trip to Goodwill or Salvation Army — and even better, save those clothes from ending up in the landfill.
Tip No. 3: Make your clothes last longer.
The simple fact is: The longer we can make our clothes last, the long we will be able to go without having to buy new clothing.
One way in which we can make our clothing last a bit longer in our closets is by buying quality clothing. This idea ties back to tip No. 5 from my previous article on sustainable shopping. Sometimes, higher prices can be a good thing.
Other ways to keep your clothes fresh longer are to simply keep a stain stick on you, try and wash your clothing less, wash dark clothing inside out, take less dry cleaning trips, and invest in a clothes line or drying rack (hang dry rather than machine dry clothes).
While it may seem impossible to transition your entire closet to used clothing products, the clothing items that you choose to use or buy from consignment and thrift stores will slowly reduce your impact on the environment.
Shifting our purchasing habits does not need to be drastic, but they should be a conscious decision.
The more we can focus on environmentally friendly practices, like the reuse of clothing, the less impact our lifestyle will have on our environment.
Read The Series!