5 Tips to Reduce Clothing Waste

When you clean out your closet, how many items go in the trash? Unsustainable fashion is causing waste to pile up and contributing to climate change.

The average American throws out 70 pounds of clothing each year. Unsustainable fashion is causing waste to pile up and contributing to climate change.

But we can reduce our overconsumption of clothing and repurpose our clothes to create less waste.

Here are our team’s five tips for reducing your closet’s impact on the planet:

  1. Buy less and keep clothes longer. The most sustainable garment is the one that’s already in your closet — so resist buying clothes you won’t wear often and take care of your wardrobe to make it last longer.
  2. Buy second-hand. Instead of buying new clothes, save some clothing from a landfill by buying secondhand. Giving clothes a second life contributes to a less wasteful economy. Plus, many thrift, resale and vintage shops today sell clothes that look brand-new for cheaper prices.
  3. Invest in sustainable brands if you can. When you do buy new clothes, try to buy clothing made from sustainable materials that will last for years. Fast fashion brands use low-quality materials that are bad for the planet and fall apart quickly, which creates more waste. If you’re able to spend the extra money, buy from a sustainable brand.
  4. Stay away from big oil’s fabrics. Many fast fashion fabrics are actually made from fossil fuels. As much as you can, try not to buy new garments that contain synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, acrylic and spandex. These fabrics contribute to big oil’s pocketbooks, and they aren’t made to last.
  5. Repurpose old clothes. After going through your closet, sell or donate wearable clothes instead of throwing them away. And instead of tossing tattered garments, get creative. Some sewing skills can turn t-shirts into rags, masks or headbands. Old sweaters can be repurposed to create blankets or socks.

Next time you’re shopping for clothing, think twice about what you need — and whether you can go without the item or purchase a more sustainable version. By keeping these tips in mind, we can build more eco-friendly wardrobes.

If you want to learn even more about how to protect the environment, sign up to receive our email updates with urgent news and ways you can help the planet: