Finding natural and green bath and body products, or even makeup, can seem like a fairly easy task. But when it comes to making green clothing choices, many people seem to be at a loss. After all, it can be difficult (and expensive!) to always be buying organic cotton. But before you rush out to buy something new, and made with natural fibers, dyes and processes, consider these other tips for making greener clothing choices:
1. Avoid Buying New
Really, one of the greenest things you can do when it comes to clothing is to avoid buying new. Go through your closet to see if you have any forgotten articles of clothing that can feel like new again. You can also go to consignment shops, thrift stores and even swaps or yard sales. There are plenty of shops that sell gently used high end and designer clothing as well. While you don’t want to buy used underwear, many other clothing items can be bought on discount — without taking up resources to produce something new.
2. Look for Items that are Easy to Care For
You’d be surprised at the environmental impact that comes from laundering your clothes. The detergent, the energy involved, and the water use are all issues. You can reduce your impact by using earth-friendly detergent, and by using water efficient washers. Clothing that can be washed in cold water, and that can be lined dried will last longer, and have less of an environmental impact. Try to avoid buying dry clean only clothing.
3. Consider the Longevity of Your Clothes
Quality clothing that lasts can be a great choice, since it means that you do not have to shop for clothing later. You can find quality used clothing that will last you awhile. Also, try to populate your wardrobe with classics that can be worn when current trends disappear. Pay attention to different colors, and try to choose tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched to increase wardrobe options without having to buy more clothes.
4. Look for More Earth Friendly Materials
If you do decide to buy new clothes, you can look for earth friendly materials that can reduce your impact. Organic cotton isn’t your only choice, either. Bamboo and hemp both grow quickly and require much less water than cotton. You can find hemp and bamboo clothing in different textures. Some are using organically grown corn to experiment with creating fibers for fabric as well. Additionally, you don’t even have to buy clothing grown from natural fibers. Some are using recycled materials, such as plastics, in order to create fabrics that are more eco-friendly.
5. Recycle Your Own Clothing
When you are done with your clothing, pass it on. Give it to someone who needs it, or donate it to a thrift shop. If you want to make a little money off of your old clothes, you can have a yard sale, or take your clothing to a consignment shop (where you will be paid when the item sells). If your clothing is in no condition to pass on, it can still be recycled. Find out about local programs, or reincarnate your old shirt as a dust rag for cleaning around the house.
Bottom line: While you may not go green all at once, it is possible to move that direction in stages. One thing you can do is to start now to make greener clothing choices, and carefully consider your options before you buy that new outfit.
This post was originally published at the Naturigy Blog