We talk a lot about the level of food, plastic and electrical waste we send to landfill every day, but what about the amount of clothing we regularly discard?
According to the Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia, Australians send around $500 million worth of fashion clothing to the tip each year.
Research undertaken by Sustainability Victoria showed that textile waste, including discarded clothing, was one of the fastest growing – and one of the most recyclable – waste streams with over 95 per cent able to be recycled or reused.
Sadly, only about two per cent of textile waste is recovered, according to 2013/14 figures.
With the festive season now upon us, many of us will seek to update our wardrobe with new purchases for upcoming Christmas and end of year parties.
We’ll send older, possibly outdated pieces to the trash to make space for new and more modern ones, contributing to today’s harmful cycle of over-consumption and over-production of waste.
Donating pieces you no longer want, rather than throwing them in the bin, is one way you can play your part and make a difference these holidays.
Our city prides itself on being the fashion capital and is home to a number of pre-loved stores which stock recycled fashion and have a focus on social responsibility.
The Conscious Closet is one example of an ethical social enterprise which sells good quality recycled fashion and offers all of its proceeds towards services that help disadvantaged women find work.
The Victorian Government is supporting similar social enterprises to create new jobs and training opportunities, recover waste, and improve resource efficiency in our communities.
The government’s $1 million Social Impact Investment for Sustainability Program will allow Victorian-based social enterprises to expand their operations and create even more jobs for marginalised groups, as well as help communities use resources more sustainably.
Think about the difference you can make this Christmas to live more sustainably and leave a better, cleaner and healthier environment for the next generation.