Did you know that textile waste is the fastest growing category of municipal solid waste, contributing to overflowing landfills and CO2 emissions that are released as our garments break down? Our own research “Canada’s Textile Recycling Feasibility Study” determined that roughly 500,000 tonnes of post-consumer textile waste (ie clothing we no longer want) ends up in Canada’s landfills – each year.
While reducing our consumption is the most important R, second place goes to Reuse, which also offers up a number of options for keeping our clothes in use for as long as possible. It can include shopping at thrift, consignment and vintage stores, borrowing, swapping, lending or donating clothes. Reuse also is the umbrella term for a few other R’s we have as part of our 7R’s toolkit, like repair, rental and repurpose. Essentially any way that we can reuse our clothes is good for the planet (and usually our wallet).
Research shows that the thrift or second hand clothing market is thriving and expected to surpass fast fashion by 2028. And thanks to apps like Depop and Poshmark, it has become more commonplace than it was in the previous decade. While thrifting is certainly not a new concept, reasons for buying second hand have changed. Thrifting has traditionally been a way to save money, but today many people thrift to reduce the negative environmental impact of their purchases. Check out our #IamAThrifter Tik Tok campaign for some inspiration and become an FTA Creator!
Reusing our clothes is also possible through clothing swaps which you can host yourself with your friends, or depending where you live, attend one in your community. Swaps are a really great way to get new-to-you clothing simply by swapping them with ones you no longer want to wear. Some community swaps might have an entrance fee, but it is usually pretty low and you can get up to 20 pieces of clothing!
A non-traditional example of reuse would be to become an outfit repeater. Forgo the pressure on social media to never be seen wearing the same outfit twice, or the need to delete photos from your feed where you are wearing the same outfit. Instead, proudly wear the same outfit over and over. And when someone calls you out on it, you tell them that you are wearing it again because you love it and there is no reason for you to have to wear something different all the time. Even celebrities are doing this now on the red carpet to make a statement to the rest of their industry, and to show their fans that it’s the cooler thing to do!