WASTE isn’t WASTE
Every 10 minutes, 6,000kg of textile waste is discarded into Australian landfills.
On average, Australians purchase 27kg of new textiles and discard 23kg annually. About 7% of these items get recycled and the rest is left to decompose in landfills over hundreds of years.
This needless waste releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and leeches dyes into the waterways and the soil – contaminating crops and safe drinking water. It’s clear that the linear fashion economy we currently use is unsustainable and change is well overdue.
The world is in a textile waste crisis and the need for a circular economy has never been more important – let’s stop landfills becoming landfilled!
Welcome to National Recycling Week
A campaign launched by Planet Ark, providing an important opportunity for councils, workplaces, schools and individuals to improve their recycling knowledge and build better recycling habits. This year National Recycling Week is exploring the idea that
Waste isn’t Waste until it’s Wasted
As individuals we all have the power to contribute to the waste solution and a big part of that starts with what we wear…so let’s talk about a SHIFT to THRIFT mindset and why that’s an incredible move for people and planet.
STOP BEFORE YOU SHOP:
First and foremost the easiest way to reduce your textile waste is by getting creative with what we already have. There are so many ‘new to you‘ looks languishing in your closet, all it takes is a little at home dress up party. This is not only incredibly healing and cathartic for the soul, (I play music and grab a drink of choice) but it’s a fabulous way to save money too. I start with Pinterest Moodboards, they inspire me endlessly and ignite my inner designer to use creative thinking and that beautiful re-imagination. You could pick an item you don’t know how to style or haven’t worn for a while, like a red dress or stripe top…simply type in ‘red dress looks’ or ‘stripe tee outfits’, see what pinterest delivers and add what you like to the mooadboard. I also explore different designers, style eras, celebrities, music, art, there is no limit and only endless opportunities to recreate your closet.
THE WISE CUSTOMISE:
Quite often the items we haven’t been wearing just need a little rework for us to fall in love them again. Restyling is my first port of call – I wear skirts as tops or dresses, I play with scarves in unexpected ways, I use my husbands business shirts to create full skirts and they can also be re-worn as strapless tops or off one shoulder – check my demo below with an oversized women’s shirt to give you an idea. I also love cropping, embellishing or even experimenting with natural dyeing
SHIFT TO THRIFT:
Second hand shopping especially in connection to a charity like Salvos Stores is a powerful way to vote with your fashion dollar. Op shopping supports local community members doing it tough and at Salvos Stores around 20,000 tonnes of textile waste is diverted from landfill annually. Then when we are talking about aesthetics, it has been completely transformational for my personal style, I even wrote a book about it.
Thrifting encourages creativity, innovation and craftiness especially because it’s rare to find multiples of the one garment. The ideas are not fed to you, it’s up to us to make it our own and I love that.
Every year Salvos Stores provides 1,000,000 sessions of care and raises well over 30 million dollars all of which goes straight back into the mission of the Salvation Army Australia.
SUPPORT SMALL, SUSTAINABLE AND CIRCULAR:
There are so many gorgeous conscious businesses making profound moves for the planet and if you’re going to spend your money outside of a thrift store this a wonderful way to do it
Have a look around your local community and see what small businesses you could support like Local tailors to amend your wardrobe
Cobbers to fix your accessories
Markets to adorn your abode with home made candles, artwork and artifacts
You can also tap into the circular economy by sharing, swapping and renting clothes
EKOLUV is one of my favourite small female owned eco businesses enabling you to borrow preloved luxury items rather than buying outright.
Sites like ETSY are great for tapping into small artisans – that’s where i found this beautiful handmade leather obi belt
EDUCATE AND INVESTIGATE:
Ask questions of your council, talk to your fellow community members, explore fresh options to reduce our waste as a collective.
Have a wardrobe clean out and donate good quality items you no longer need – just be sure to ask yourself ‘would I feel comfortable giving this to a friend’ before you do.
If items aren’t up to scratch for thrift store donation, the Planet Ark website has some wonderful resources, check out the work UPPAREL are doing here in Australian and NZ for unwanted waste.
I’m also a big fan of the Charitable recycling Australia website, it’s filled with helpful waste reduction info and even a reuse calculator to help you measure your environmental impact.
Because remember, waste isn’t waste until we waste it