People urged to do wardrobe clear-out for great reason during Covid-19
While we are staying at home during the Covid-19 lockdown, World Vision Ireland is encouraging people to avoid online clothes shopping and to do a wardrobe clear-out. People are advised to donate their unwanted clothes to charity shops when they open again.
With the hugely damaging global growth of ‘fast fashion’, clothing production has doubled from 2000 to 2014, with more than 150 billion garments now produced annually, and 73% of all textiles ending up in landfill or incineration. World Vision delivers education, healthcare and sanitation to over 120 million children in nearly 100 countries worldwide and sees the direct impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable children, in the developing world.
Last December, research from the European Environment Agency highlighted that after food, housing and transport, textiles are the fourth largest cause of environmental pressure. World Vision Ireland and the Irish Environmental Network said that textiles also cause the second highest pressure on land use and are the fifth largest contributor to carbon emissions from household consumption.
World Vision Ireland said that when it becomes common practice to donate unwanted clothes to charity, and to only shop second-hand, we will drastically improve our carbon footprint. The charity said this will improve our own air quality and environment in Ireland, and it will also make a positive difference for people in the developing world who are hit the worst with the negative impacts of climate change.
“The fast fashion industry emits 1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year. People can reduce their carbon footprint by buying less, using what’s already in their wardrobes, and only shopping at charity shops or second-hand shops.” Fiona O’Malley, Director of Communications and Fundraising at World Vision Ireland, said.
“You can also support sustainable fashion by doing a wardrobe clear-out during the lockdown and putting those clothes aside for charity. The general rule of thumb I would use for decluttering is - if you haven’t worn it in a year, give it to charity. If you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s obviously not a key piece of your wardrobe or something you’ll miss. A wardrobe clear-out is a great way to give old clothes a new home, create more space in your wardrobe, and support wonderful charitable causes.
“It’s important to remember that most charity shops are closed now (although NCBI is still selling clothes online via the Thriftify website), so if you don’t have room to store your unwanted clothes, you can sell them online on Dondeal.ie or eBay. You can also upcycle some clothes by altering them. There are great sewing classes on YouTube and Pinterest is a great resource for upcycling ideas.”
World Vision Ireland is encouraging people to resist the temptation of buying clothes online during the lockdown, and to consider moving away from fast fashion, and living more sustainably. Fiona said that real climate action means changing our methods of production and consumption by reassessing how we buy and reuse textiles. She emphasised that we all have a part to play in fixing our fractured planet. The Irish charity also encouraged people who have gardens to plant trees in them during the lockdown, to help reduce carbon emissions. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, convert it to sugars and wood, and release pure oxygen back to the atmosphere.
“Instead of shopping online and contributing to the ‘fast fashion’ industry, you can arrange virtual clothes swapping with your friends and family.” Fiona said.
“Getting together with a group of people for a digital clothes swap via Zoom, WhatsApp or House Party is great fun and another way of supporting second-hand, sustainable living. You can share pictures of the clothes your never wear and see if someone else is interested. Then just label the clothes and put them away in a bag until the next time you meet in person – a great addition to the lunches we’re all planning after the lockdown, and something nice to look forward to, when this is all over!”