It is that time of year again; time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new one. I am taking it a step further and reflecting back on the past two years. As a green-living writer, I have researched, written and read a million articles about the wastefulness of the fashion industry, so all throughout 2013 I resolved to avoid buying any new clothes for myself. That’s right — for an entire year. Here is part of the reason I felt compelled to make that resolution:
- According to the U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year. Clothing and other textiles make up about 4% of the municipal solid waste stream, according to “Brenda Abdullah Designs: Recycled, Reborn Thrift Store Finds.”
- A typical cotton shirt requires more than 70 gallons of water during production. And, that’s being conservative — many have been found to use more than 700 gallons.
- According to Treehugger.com, about 15 to 20% of fabric used to produce clothing ends up in U.S. landfills.
- It takes around 1,600 gallons of water to grow 1 pound of cotton, and it takes about 2 pounds of cotton to produce one pair of men’s jeans.
- I had a closet full of clothes I had not seen in ages — some with tags still on them. Refusing new items for a year enabled me to really look at what I had in my closet and wear things I did not usually wear and donate items that I would not ever wear again.
- We have some awesome thrift stores in our area that are full of clothing just waiting to be reused. This experiment really helped me discover them and appreciate their place in our community.