According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2014, over 16 million tons of textile waste was generated in the United States alone. Of this amount, 2.62 million tons were recycled, 3.14 million tons were combusted for energy recovery, and 10.46 million tons were sent to the landfill. Where it will sit for 200-plus years, and as it decomposes, it will emit methane, a greenhouse gas even more toxic than carbon dioxide. Let's all start to Repair, Reuse, Recycle our used clothing ...and's here's how.
Why extend the life of your clothes?
Why should we repair, reuse or recycle our used garments? Because the best thing we can do for the planet is get more use out of stuff we already own, thus cutting down on consumption. According to Greenpeace, global clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014, with the average Westerner buying 60% more garments annually and keeping them for about half as long as 15 years ago, thus generating a huge amount of waste destined for landfill.
The UK’s Waste and Resource Action Programme calculated that if the average life of clothing was extended by just 9 months, it would reduce by 20 – 30% the related carbon, water and waste footprints.
What is Patagonia's Worn Wear?
Worn Wear is a program set up by the outdoors brand Patagonia, which aims to keep clothing and gear in action for longer by means of repair, recycling garments beyond repair, and by creating a market for second hand Patagonia garments, on their online store. Those clothes that once sat idle in closets can make their way back into circulation and out of landfill. What’s more, if you return used Patagonia gear in good condition, they’ll give you credit that can be used in Patagonia retail stores, on WornWear.com or Patagonia.com.
Worn Wear also celebrates the stories associated to the clothes we wear in a series of fascinating blogs and videos about a garment, its owner and their adventures.
Where can I attend a Worn Wear event?
Should you wish to have your Patagonia garment repaired or recycled, you can find the Worn Wear team at events across the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Japan. You can check their full list of events here, or follow them at @wornwear. Alternatively, you can have your garment repaired, recycled or traded by sending it over to your local Patagonia distributor.
Your Clothes, Your Stories
Patagonia believe that clothing is more than just something you wear. A piece of clothing can pinpoint a moment in time, it can stimulate fond memories, it is with us through blood, sweat, tears, laughter, and it is certainly there for our near disasters and our proudest triumphs. These pieces of clothing have their own story to tell… so, let’s share them!
You can submit your Worn Wear story here.
Keeping clothing in use just nine extra months can reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%.WRAP, 2012
Sources & further reading
- “Advanced Sustainable Materials Management” - Environmental Protection Agency
- “Black Friday: Greenpeace calls timeout for fast fashion” - Greenpiece
- “Why we should be focusing on clothing as well as plastics” - Waste Resource Action Programme
- “Textile Recycling Facts and Figures” - The Balance Small Business
- “Fashion clothing – where does it all end up” - Emerald Insight