Every year, approximately 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in landfills, according to a research conducted by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). In 2018, Britons threw out around 12.5 billion worth of clothes, and this translates to almost 500 per household.
The clothing consumption industry in the UK contributes up to 5% of the total carbon and water footprint annually. This emission is attributed to the methane released by textiles as they decompose and degrade once they are in the landfills.
Textiles also release toxins and dyes that get into the ground, affecting the surrounding water and soil. Methane is a greenhouse gas and, therefore, the environmental impact caused by the fashion industry is quite significant.
The research also found out that most clothes are thrown out in spring and summer when people update their wardrobes. More than 50% of the people that were surveyed opt to throw perfectly functional clothes in a bin rather than recycle, donate or give them away to family or friends.
The Environmental Impact of Unconscious Rubbish Removal
As a source of pollution, clothing disposal holds second place in the world. Many people are unaware that the contents of their wardrobes can be so toxic to the environment.
Note that the pollution process begins way before you put that worn out or out-of-style T-shirt in the dustbin. The whole production process in the textile industry contributes to pollution, starting with the use of non- renewable energy sources to toxic gas emissions.
The production industry is regulated for the most part by national and international organisations. This awareness lacks more on the end-user side. Many options available for you as a consumer to contribute to environmental conservation include practising responsible rubbish removal when it comes to unwanted clothes.
Practical Tips for Consumers
Many individuals, business organisations and companies have joined efforts to minimise the environmental damage caused by the textile products’ lifecycle. There are several steps you can take as a consumer to reduce the amount of clothing going into our landfills.
Consider Donating Instead Of Disposing
Donating promotes recycling and a green economy. It is also an effective way of rubbish removal where you clear rubbish before it becomes rubbish. Some organisations make donating clothes easy. They place collecting bins in convenient locations where you can just drop off your clothing.
If you need to get dispose of clothes and other textile products that are too old to be donated, there are options for that too. Companies like Clearabee offer rubbish removal services, and 95% of the waste they collect is diverted from landfills.
Avoid Fast Fashion Clothing if You Can
Fast fashion clothing is usually mass-produced, low quality and not meant to last long. This means you have to shop often and consequently throw out a lot of clothes. You can choose to buy from companies that produce high quality and comfortable clothing that are environmentally friendly.
Look Out For Certifications Of Quality
Fairtrade and Global Organic Standards (GOS) are organisations that ensure the cotton industry is using organic production standards and practising fair employee treatment. As a consumer, you can find their logos on clothing labels to ensure you are buying ethical and environmentally friendly clothing.
Buy Clothing from Second Hand Shops
If you buy second-hand clothes, you help to reduce the number of clothes headed to landfills. Many second-hand clothes stores have quality attire.
Buy Clothing from Home Made Designers
Many designers make quality handmade clothing and sell them in local retail shops. If you buy from such shops, you help to support small businesses in your local area rather than chain outlets that are not likely to source their clothing ethically.
Clearabee is the largest rubbish removal company in the UK that operates from over 100 locations. They can clear most waste streams from most locations on the same day or requested date. They also offer skip bags, skip hire and total waste management services for individuals and businesses.