Ultimate Guide to a Sustainable Closet

Last day of the 10 x 10 Challenge (click here to start reading my other posts), and I’m sad that is has come to an end, but I think this will become a seasonal tradition for me, in the hopes that I can become more aware and connected to the clothes I have and become a more conscious shopper.

To finish off this challenge, I wanted to compile all the information I shared during these past 10 days and create for you a go-to reference of steps to make your wardrobe more eco-friendly.

This guide addresses the 5 areas of the clothing’s lifecycle: material, production, shipping, use, and disposal.

#1 – MATERIAL

Consider what your clothes are made of & do your research.

Avoid buying plastic fabric. Some examples are: polyester, lycra, and nylon.

Ensure the alternatives to plastic fabrics are being made with the environmental impact in mind (for example cotton is certified BCI – “Better Cotton Initiative” promoting more sustainably-made cotton).

Check out Day 4 & 5 of my 10 x 10 challenge to learn more about why materials matter.

# 2 – PRODUCTION

Prioritize quality over quantity.

Avoid fast fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara.

Research the brand/company & consider:

  • Where is the product made?
  • How is the product made?
  • Is there a certification mentioned (check out different textile eco-labels here)?
  • What is their mission or vision? Is the environment mentioned in it?
  • Do they have a good reputation for being environmental?

#3 – SHIPPING

Again ask, where is this garment made?

The closer to your home the garment is made, the less it travels, which then reduces its carbon footprint.

#4 – USE

Shop in your closet & use what you already have.

Buy less.

Build a capsule wardrobe with your existing clothing.

Buy second-hand clothing.

Plan and/or attend a clothing swap.

Take care of your clothing:

  • Wash your clothing less frequently (my rule: no spills & no smell under the arms, I wear it again!),
  • Consider hand washing your clothes,
  • Use shorter wash cycles & use cold water cycles,
  • Only wash your clothes if you have a full load,
  • Use liquid detergent with plastic fabrics,
  • Buy a device for your washer to catch micro-fibres (such as Guppy Friend),
  • Sun bleach instead of using chemical bleach,
  • Hang dry your clothing.

#5 – DISPOSAL

Avoid the Landfill:

  • Mend the clothing you have to give it a longer life,
  • Keep old clothing and consider repurposing them into items such as rags, wipes, or yarn,
  • Only donate clothing that has good resale value,
  • Reduce how much you buy.

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