• Green Tip: Green and Clean Clothes

    Posted by   |  May 7, 2017
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    Sustainability in Clothing

    Did you know the clothing industry is the third most pollutive in the world, after oil and agriculture? Modern clothing production is extremely carbon and water intensive: For example, one pair of jeans requires thousands of gallons of water to manufacture, and the contaminated water gets cycled back into our global system. According to the World Bank, 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from treating and dyeing textiles with chemically infused water.Producing polyester, nylon, and other petroleum-based fabric releases volatile organic compounds and nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Cotton, leather, and other raw fashion materials require huge amounts of land with intensive energy inputs to produce.

    We have some tips on behaving sustainably in this system:

    Washing

    Wash smart by only washing full loads: If you wash partial loads, you’ll have to run your washing machine more frequently and consume more water and energy. One way to cut load frequency by using spot-cleaners.

    Set your washer to cold: Heating water costs energy, and your clothes will last longer on cold washes.

    Ditch the dryer: Line drying your clothes during the warmed half of the year can eliminate 700 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually. (running a dryer doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses, but generating the energy does)

    Shopping

    Don’t throw away old clothes. Donate them or sell them to a consignment store. If every American recycled one more T-shirt a year, we would recover 210 billion gallons of water and 1 million pounds of CO2.

    Go to thrift stores and buy vintage: A step better than purchasing new clothing is purchasing vintage or remanufactured clothing. Americans throw away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person, per year, almost all of which could be recycled, donated, or repurposed. Remanufactured clothing can save more than 13,000 pounds of CO2 emissions a year.

    As always, be a conscious consumer. Know what you’re buying and how it was made.

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