However, although your wallet may not feel the costs, the planet does. 85% of our old clothes end up in landfills; that amounts to 25 billion tons per year of textile waste in North America alone. And many of our clothes are made from plastic-based materials that don’t degrade; the chemicals and dyes seep into our groundwater and waterways. The fast fashion industry is responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater. This wastewater contaminates oceans, rivers, soil, and sources of freshwater. In short, the result is waste. Excess clothes we rarely or never wear take up space in our closets. We spend money on clothes we maybe wear trice. Perhaps that’s why people want to Marie Kondo their lives; they’re overwhelmed.
What can we do? How can we effect change? One step we can take is to educate ourselves. Be aware of clothing companies and whether they are making efforts to be sustainable. Do your research: are they making empty promises or committed to real change? Inventory your current closet. Clear it out. What do you need, what don’t you wear anymore, how can you experiment with new outfit combinations you haven’t yet tried? Most people wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. Try vintage and secondhand clothing, clothing swaps, and even just sharing clothes among your circle of friends. And when you do purchase clothing, endeavor to purchase wardrobes that are long lasting and meaningful, not merely seasonal.