adopted the green movement as your own, but now you're wondering
about your wardrobe.
What is green clothing?
What are the best
choices for sustainability?
How do you find green and fair trade
greenest clothes are the ones you already have! Although they may
not be made of organic cotton or hemp, they're already in your
closet or dresser, which means the only energy they require is at
“dry clean only” clothing and look for items that can be washed
in cold water. Only wash your clothes when needed … a pair of
sweatpants worn for a few hours on a lazy morning probably don't
need washed before they're pulled into service again. Line dry your
clothing whenever possible. I have clotheslines in the backyard for
when the weather cooperates, and another set of lines in the laundry
room for our not-so-cooperative Colorado winters. If your clothes
feel stiff after line drying, try mixing 1 cap full of liquid fabric
softener with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray
clothes to get rid of the stiffness. If you must wear a dry clean
only suit every day, please look into green cleaners. It may cost a
bit more, but doesn't use all the toxic chemicals of a traditional
second-hand stores. Again, these clothes are already out there and
you can always get a better quality garment for less than a new one.
This allows for new-to-you green clothes, focusing on the second “R”
for “union made” labels. It means the people assembling your
clothes are making union wages and are protected by the union's
demands for safe practices. It also means the people assembling your
clothes are NOT children who should be getting the opportunity to go
to school or people working for pennies an hour, which makes these
ethically green clothes.
renewable, organic fabrics such as those made from hemp, cotton, soy
and bamboo. If you simply must buy new, look for sustainable fabrics
that are made responsibly – without pesticides or artificial dyes.
“fair trade” articles. Fair trade means the people producing the
items are paid a living wage for the goods they produce.
timeless pieces that won't end up in a landfill. Today's hottest
styles are tomorrow's trash. Buying a traditional cotton shirt that
you'll wear for 20 years is preferable to a bamboo shirt that you'll
outgrow the style of 3 months from now.
about the repair-ability of garments when you're purchasing them. A
button, for example, is easy to replace but will you be able to
affix a new snap if the original fails? Green clothing is durable
that favorite tee or pair of jeans is absolutely beyond repair,
consider repurposing it. Old shirts (especially your husband's!)
make great dust rags and those jeans might make the most comfortable
throw pillow ever.
your clothes have passed their usefulness, please consider recycling
them. If you don't know where to recycle clothes in your community,
please try contacting your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Either
may know where these services are available.
Don't stop at clothes. Use the same guidelines for bedding. Organic cotton is a great choice for sheets and pajamas, as is bamboo.
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