Did you know last year a study found that three quarters of British consumers throw away clothes rather than recycle or donate them. A predicted 235 million items ended up in landfill last year. I was so shocked about this figure. I’m guessing people have become busier with their work lives so throwing them in a bin liner and out to the bins is easier than sorting and taking to the charity shop or local homeless refuge etc. It is also the amount of clothes people go through now? Gone are the days where your one ‘best’ winter coat lasted years and was then passed down through the family or to cousins.
There are a few reasons I think this is happening. We live in a disposable world, even electronics are replaced and are so much cheaper than they were, instead of mending it, it is cheaper to buy a new kettle etc. Clothes are so cheap now, but I also feel they are not made to the same quality either therefore looking worn quicker and not lasting very long etc.
Sadly, the approach of buying a new top for every party invite has become the norm, especially amongst the younger generation, then in the bin! Within my family I am on a constant battle to convince my teenage daughters it’s ok to wear the same dress, swap clothes etc. They are slowly starting to listen. I can’t really blame them either, I’m sure as a teenager with a bit of birthday money I would have done the same when you can buy 3-4 tops for the same price and the one well-made expensive top!
Along with plastic, and anything else that goes into landfill, we have to start having the conversation with the younger generation, and with ourselves. Do we need that new top? New Sofa? New Carpet? New phone. I feel consumerism is an addiction and made worse with the over cheap manufacturing of these easily disposed of items.
My son, who is 16, has actually started to listen and make different choices. He decided last summer he would visit the charity shops and see what he could find. He now loves it and the ‘retro’ clothes he’s able to find in our local charity shops. The clothes he gets from there seem to be a lot better quality than the ones from a certain cheap shop my girls are drawn to!
Start the conversations today, how you and your family can make a move towards living more sustainability.