Food, clothing, shelter: the essentials in life. But what about the impact our fashion choices have on the environment?
Clothing is difficult to recycle. Many synthetic fibers are non-compostable and garment recycling is labor intensive, as items need to be sorted by color and material. Because of this, 85 percent of clothing in the U.S. ends up either burned or in landfills. Textiles actually account for 11 percent of waste in U.S. landfills, and globally the fashion industry is responsible for approximately 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Clothing Swaps: An Eco Solution to Fast Fashion
We can easily avoid many instances of textile waste by changing a few behaviors. Many Americans have a pile, bag, or corner of their closet with clothing that they no longer wear. Maybe you received a few gifts still with tags that you have never worn? Instead of throwing away, selling, or donating clothing, consider a clothing swap as a great way to clear out unwanted items, score new pieces, and avoid waste being sent to landfills.
Swaps are also a fun way to engage friends, save money, and build enthusiasm around sustainable living.
Here are a few pro tips for a smooth clothing swap
1. Be Mindful of Your Guest List
Try to invite a well-rounded group so each guest will find clothing in their size. Try to match guests with similar taste and styles as well.
2. Think Quality over Quantity
Ask friends to bring a limited number of quality pieces instead of a few trash bags. This gives guests time to focus on items and perhaps even hear a story about where it is from and adventures it went on.
3. Provide Space to Display
Make sure you have enough space either on tables or blankets on the ground to lay clothing out.
4. Make It Festive
To help people get in the right mood, play music, and serve friends with snacks and drinks
5. Create a Dressing Room
Consider creating a space for guests to try on clothing.
6. Decide What to Do with Leftovers
Inevitably some clothing will be leftover. Arrange ahead of time for one individual to take clothing to be donated or have each guest be responsible for their own items.
If your swap goes well, you may consider hosting one seasonally with friends. Many of us have seen our preferences and size change throughout the past few years of the pandemic, so regular clothing swaps can be a great way to revitalize your wardrobe and regularly catch up with friends.
If you are interested in learning more about the fashion industry’s impact check out Sustainable America’s post, Jumpstarting Sustainable Fashion: From Big Companies to Our Closets.