Our world is full of throwaway items, and we all get carried away when it comes to buying more and more clothing. In living memory, it was usual for people to have just a few items of clothing (and something that was reserved especially for Sundays and holidays), and no one even thought about it. Today, the majority of people have a huge amount of clothing, some of which is never even worn or only worn once. So many of these clothes are thrown out with the garbage, and it is extremely wasteful. That’s why buying ethically is a much better idea. Here are some ways to do it when it comes to your clothing.
Use Green Energy At Home
Changing to a renewable energy provider is a great way to make a difference in your own house on both the ethical and environmental fronts. When it comes to your energy bills, you can’t trade or barter. You’ll just have to pay the money that you owe. So, it’s good if you can make sure that the company you use and the energy you use are green and better for the environment.
Changing to a renewable energy provider from your present one is simple. It only takes a few minutes online, and usually, once you sign up for the new contract, the energy supplier will finalize the transition for you; you won’t even have to notify your current provider at all (this might seem like a tiny detail, but it often prevents people from doing the right thing and saving money, even though they know it).
Even better, renewable energy will not cost much more than you are already paying, so it will not negatively impact your household bills. If you are willing to invest a little extra money, you may have solar panels installed on your roof by contacting a local solar contractor such as Solarise Solar Company. In this manner, you essentially generate your own energy, which is both ethical and environmentally friendly. Although you will need to pay for installation in most circumstances, the savings you can achieve will more than compensate for this.
Shop In Thrift Stores
One of the easiest ways to get started buying clothing ethically is to buy it from thrift stores secondhand. It can take some time to sort through the racks of clothing to find something that you would wear, and that is in good enough condition, but the prices are excellent (and the money usually goes to charity and good causes, so you are also helping out in that respect) and you won’t be contributing to a landfill either.
When shopping in a thrift store, you will want to look for clothes that are hard wearing and will last you for a long time. Wood, cotton, leather, and suede are all good materials to buy. Purchasing flimsy items that aren’t going to last for very many wears isn’t a great idea unless you are sure you can look after them. When you’re tired of your own clothes, take them to a thrift store, too, so that all the good you’re doing comes full circle.
If you aren’t entirely on board with the idea of buying secondhand then you may want to search online for ethical clothing brands instead. That way you can buy new but also be contributing to the health of the planet. In some instances, depending on the brand, you will also be putting money back into poorer communities around the globe, helping people live more sustainably and allowing them to create their own businesses rather than having to rely on handouts (assuming there are any; in some countries, those living in poverty will be given nothing at all).
You can even buy your work clothes through online ethical stores who put money back into communities that require it. Some stores use recycled or salvaged materials to make their clothing, and others ensure that the workers who make the clothes are paid fair wages. When you find an online ethical clothing brand that you like, make sure you spread the word to your friends and family so that they can enjoy the clothing too. The more people who shop ethically, the better.
Budget In A More Sustainable Way
Some of the problems that come from so many throwaway items produced quickly by (sometimes) underpaid people is that people love to buy clothes and will do so without thinking of the consequences. If you enjoy shopping for clothes, you can switch to some of the methods mentioned above, or you can simply reduce your budget.
Go through your closet and find all the clothes you no longer want and donate them to a thrift store. Once that is done, you’ll be left with just the clothes that you enjoy wearing regularly. This will give you a much better idea of your style so that when you do go on a shopping spree, you won’t buy items that just aren’t going to work for you; you’ll know exactly what suits you.
As well as this, put a budget on your spending. Look at what you usually spend on clothes, and you might be surprised (and not a little horrified) about how much it is. You need to half (if not more) your spending and stick to that budget for the month. You’ll be much more careful about the clothes that you buy, and you’ll have money left over for other things – or you could save it all up and use it for a vacation.
Contact Your Favorite Brands
If you are totally in love with a particular clothing brand but they are not working ethically or doing anything to reduce waste or make lives better, get in touch with them. Ask them to do better. If enough people do the same, they may be able to change the minds of those in charge of the big brands. This would be a wonderful thing to do. Make a video to put your point across and show it to as many people as possible and go to social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are particularly good platforms to use), and start a campaign to ensure that everyone knows what you are doing and that they can join in if they want to.
There really is no reason why the big brands can’t change to make more ethical clothing. If their production methods won’t allow it, they may at least be able to invest in poorer communities with some of their profits.
Make Your Own Clothes
If you make your own clothes, you really are cutting down on waste, and you will be able to create something absolutely unique. You could even make clothes for your friends and family – they will love this kind of gift that only you can give them. It takes a little time to learn how to make clothes, how to follow a pattern, how to buy only the right amount of material so you don’t waste anything (including money), and how to use a sewing machine but once you have these skills you will be able to make anything you like. You can learn by signing up for an evening class, asking someone you know for help and advice, or through following YouTube videos.
Only Buy When You Really Have To
Most of us are in the mindset of wanting something and then buying it. However, it would be much better for the environment (not to mention our bank accounts) to only buy something when we really have to. When we need something, in other words.
The difference between want and need is a big one, but it may be hard to understand at first. We’re used to being able to get whatever we want, often next day. But if you can take a step back before making any purchase and ask yourself whether you actually need whatever it is you’re thinking of buying or you simply way it, you can make a big impact.
If you actually do find that you need something – and, of course, there will certainly be times when you do – don’t immediately pick a brand new item. As we mentioned earlier, thrift stores can be very useful, but you might also find refurbished items online or someone local selling exactly what you want. Make buying brand new your last resort, and you can ensure that you always buy ethically when you want to buy anything at all.
Finally, shopping locally is an ethical way to shop as well. If there are any independent clothing stores near you, this is where you should head when you want something new. You’ll find much more interesting and unique items in these stores, plus by supporting your local community, you are helping small business owners rather than big corporations. Not only that, but you will use less fuel if you shop locally, and that is better for the environment.
It’s not just clothing that you can buy in this way either. There are local bakeries, butchers, homeware stores, even farmers’ markets, and so much more. Look around near you and see what you can find.