This month it is Plastic Free July so with this in mind I thought I would put together a series of posts on the topic.
This post contains a PR gift.
What is Plastic Free July?
Plastic Free July is a global movement that encourages everybody to find plastic free ways of living their day to day lives, swapping out single use plastic items for reusable and eco-friendly ones. Many people switch from a single use coffee cup to a keep cup for instance. However, I am looking at how to adapt this challenge for my wardrobe.
Plastic in our wardrobes
It may surprise you to learn that plastic can be found in the majority of our wardrobes. This comes in the form of polyester, acrylic, nylon etc. When synthetic items of clothing are washed they release millions of tiny plastic fibres, known as microfibres of micro plastic, into your washing machines and eventually into our rivers and oceans. This is a risk to not only marine life but also to human health, however as yet we don’t know the full impact.
There are several things we can do to try and combat this. We can start by washing our clothes less often which will also help to extend the life of clothing. When we do need to put on a load making sure that the machine is full will reduce the garments from rubbing together. You can also use a laundry bag like the GuppyFriend Washing Bag which is an effective, scientifically proven, and patented solution to stop microplastic pollution. It reduces fibre shedding and protects our clothes. I have a full review of the GuppyFriend coming soon!
Shop consciously to reduce plastic in your wardrobe
In an ideal world we would stop shopping and use what we have, but that’s just not realistic. However, we can shop consciously and that is really what I try to encourage on Life’s a Catwalk. Try to avoid fast fashion brands (I realise this isn’t always possible for some people) and always check the label on clothing to check there’s no plastic.
I appreciate that many sustainable brands are more expensive and may be out of reach for some people. However, with these brands the idea is that you spend more on items but they will last longer, resulting in you spending less in the long run.
Buy natural materials
Look out for natural materials such as:
- Recycled cotton – growing cotton can be problematic as it requires a lot of pesticides. Organic cotton is more sustainable than conventional cotton but make sure it is GOTS-certified to ensure high standards in production. The most sustainable cotton is recycled.
- Organic hemp – Hemp requires very little water and no pesticides so it is better for the environment than other crops.
- Organic linen – Again this needs little water an pesticides. It even grows in poor quality soil, and every part of the plant is used.
- Tencel – Is made by dissolving wood pulp. Has anti-bacterial properties and wicks away moisture so it’s great for activewear.
- Piñatex – Made from pineapple leaf fibre and is a great cruelty free ‘leather’.
- Econyl – Uses synthetic waste like industrial plastic and fishing nets. These are recycled into a nylon type yarn.
- Qmonos – a synthetic spider silk said to be five times stronger than steel. Spiders are not farmed or harmed in the manufacturing process.
Buying pre-owned clothing is one of the most conscious ways to shop. By giving something a second (third, or fourth) life it is much better for the environment than buying brand new.
I think we should be aware that there are people who really rely on charity shops. Shopping from sites like eBay and Depop are also great alternatives.
When you are out shopping don’t forget to take a reusable bag with you to prevent the need for a plastic carrier bag. I have started looking at how brands package items when I am shopping online too. Many now have reusable packaging made from recycled materials. You can even let brands know that you would like less packaging. I remember placing an order with Net a Porter who send items out in their signature black boxes. But they now provide an option where you can say you want less packaging. Some companies will also wrap your item in one sheet of tissue and send it in a cardboard box rather than a plastic bag if you ask. The more we question these things the more likely we are to instigate change.
Do Plastic Free July every month
For the month of Plastic Free July (and each month after) I encourage you to be mindful of the clothing that makes up your wardrobe. I will be adopting plastic free practices in other areas of my life too. By then end of the month I hope that this will become habit.
Are you doing Plastic Free July? If you have done it before or practice a plastic free way of life I’d love to know how to are getting on.