The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Dressing sustainably: Combatting the dangers of fast fashion

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The fast fashion industry is a hidden danger to the environment, as not enough people are truly aware of just how much waste it produces. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans generate 16 million tons of textile waste annually — 62.5% of which is sent directly to landfills. Moreover, this amount of waste has doubled in the last 20 years and is expected to double again by 2030.

The reason for such an extreme increase in waste in America is due to the fast fashion industry. To keep up with changing trends and the demand for affordable clothes, the fashion industry had to adjust by manufacturing clothing made of cheap, poor materials, leading to more waste than ever before. However, there are countless solutions and various steps we can take to not contribute to clothing waste.

One of the leading causes of clothing waste is that people are more inclined to get rid of clothes, even when they are still in good condition. In fact, over the last 15 years, the amount of times a single piece of clothing is worn has declined by 35%, and most garments are worn only 7 to 15 times before they are discarded. Dressing sustainably can be as easy as re-wearing your clothes and giving them new life, not discarding them the minute they seem “out of style.”

But what about clothes which are not in good condition? Though it may seem cumbersome, it is valuable to learn how to sew or patch up clothing items that may have small holes instead of completely disposing of them. Furthermore, there are many guides to repurposing clothing that are worse for wear. Old shirts may be made into a blanket, or an old sweatshirt can be made into a tote bag. Damaged clothes may even be used as cleaning rags around the house. There is no real limit to what new purposes clothes can serve with some creativity.

Of course, not every piece of clothing can be salvaged, but there are other ways to dress sustainably. If buying new clothes is an absolute necessity, try to buy from brands that produce their clothing in a more environmentally friendly way. Additionally, clothing swaps with friends or your local community can be a great way to bond while also sourcing clothing sustainably. And, if all else fails, when you buy clothes from any brand at all, try to search for clothing that will last long term and won’t need to be replaced quickly.

These are just a few small ways you can combat the dangers of fast fashion. But, most importantly, spreading the word and becoming educated about how the fashion industry affects the environment is perhaps the most vital step of all.

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