Why we need to be more conscious of our shopping habits
For a lot of millennials in the 21st century, the idea of creating a sustainable, ethical and minimalist wardrobe from scratch is very much a daunting prospect. We are surrounded by fast and disposable fashion where people are opting for the cheap and easy way of buying clothing, it is no wonder our planet is suffering.
According to Norfolk Natural Living, an all-natural, Norfolk based home-care/ home-ware brand which puts sustainability to the forefront of everything they do, “20 per cent of all the water pollution in the world comes from the fashion industry. Not only from the washes and dyes spreading through our rivers and oceans. But also, the staggering number of micro-fibres that clog the insides of marine life (and everything else that eats them)”. This statement alone is enough to make you re-evaluate your consumer habits.
However, thanks to Norfolk Natural Living and their ingenious free online Wardrobe Sustainability Calculator, we can start saving the planet through, you guessed it, our clothes. The calculator aims to offer helpful guidance on how we can change our clothing sensibilities in order to improve our planet, so says sustainability expert and founder of Norfolk Natural Living, Bella Middleton.
Here’s the way the calculator works:
- You have to answer 4 questions. An example is ‘how many tops and trousers do you own?’
- Insert your answer as a number
- When you’ve answered all 4 questions, multiply the total with the average quantity of water used to create the garments (you’re given the average to use)
- Then multiply this number with the number of washes you do each week
- The total is an indication of just how much pollution your wardrobe causes over the space of a year.
The team at Natural Norfolk Living have ensured that the results given are as accurate as possible making it assuredly the most helpful fashion sustainability tool out there at the moment.
Shortly after inputting my answers, I received a comprehensive email with my results. Shockingly, it came back that the garments in my wardrobe took 96,230 litres of water to produce with roughly 34,200 individual fibres being released into the oceans during the entire production process. These statistics are absolutely jaw-dropping. That being said, when it came to how many times I was washing my clothes per week (which was 3-4), the results came back as each wash releasing around 2.5kg of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere which is about 390kg of gas each year. I simply could not believe how much of an impact I was making on the environment (for the worst).
After receiving your results, you’re then presented with various ways to reduce your sustainable footprint. The first solution is to make your wardrobe eco-friendlier simply by re-wearing, re-using and recycling your garments. By carrying out all 3 of these steps, you can up the overall efficiency of your wardrobe, reduce your overall impact on the environment as well as start to implement your yearning for a minimalist wardrobe/life.
When it comes to my laundry habits there is also a solution for that too. Instead of washing your clothes too often, pick up a garment refresher spray to prolong the wear of every item of clothing in your wardrobe. The only exception to this rule is clothing items that come into contact with the sweeter parts of the body. So that means jackets, coats, trousers and jumpers all have the green light when it comes to being spritzed. The less we use the washing machine, the fewer microfibres and carbon dioxide particles we are polluting the planet with. Just have a think about that.
After utilising the sustainability calculator, I have made some changes in terms of how I view clothing and myself. Instead of constantly buying a new item of clothing to wear only once, I have now re-discovered clothes I haven’t worn in years and have been re-using these garments as opposed to contributing to water waste. Another way I have been lessening emissions is by recycling my clothing through swapping with others and giving vast quantities to the charity shop, thus reducing my pollution of the planet and developing my peace of mind.
Why not try the sustainability calculator yourself and see what more you can do to save the planet too? https://www.norfolknaturalliving.com/pages/how-sustainable-is-your-wardrobe
Opening image: Christina Animashaun / Vox.com