CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) Fast fashion and disposable clothing result in Americans discarding, on average, 80 pounds of textile waste per person per year. Here to help us upcycle is Jill Maldonado, the Head Rebel at Material Rebellion.
Textile waste is an aspect of the global waste crisis that is rarely discussed.
- Fast fashion and disposable clothing result in Americans discarding, on average, 80 pounds of textile waste per person per year.
- Of the clothing we donate to charity, only 1/3 of it will be resold in the U.S. Some is sold to manufacturers (for instance, denim can be used to create insulation). The rest is sent overseas.
- Sending our second-hand clothing overseas is not the answer. Import of second hand clothing into Africa creates competition for the local textile industry there, therefore, some African countries have banned the import of our cast-offs.
- The production of our clothing is environmentally impactful and responsible consumerism can lessen the impact that the clothing industry has on our environment.
- Did you know that it takes over 700 gallons of water to produce one t-shirt? That’s how much water one person drinks in three years. That same t-shirt, if thrown into a landfill at the end of its useful life, will produce 3 pounds of carbon dioxide as it biodegrades and that impacts climate change.
There are small changes we can make that will improve the situation:
- Buy fewer, better quality clothing that will last longer.
- Try shopping at a thrift store before you go to the mall.
- Have clothing swaps with friends, family or your larger community.
- Reuse as much as you can (making rags out of old t shirts)
- Using the clothes that we no longer wear for craft projects is fun and affordable and it empowers children to be active in the solution to what can seem like an overwhelming (and scary) issue.