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When the summer ends, we are beginning to think about cracking open our boxes full of winter clothes. As with every change of season, the topic of new clothing often arises–whether naturally or by the suggestion of stores through sales and special offers.
Old clothing is passed on as the new comes in. But what about zero waste?
Garment waste is one of the easiest and most fun things to bring down to zero. If you’re ready to take this leap towards zero waste living, start by following these tips.
The first step to take is to create as little garment waste as possible. Without waste, there’s no need to worry about how to deal with it! Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of waste you create in the fist place.
Buy only what you need.
Sure, what you actually need to survive is something like two outfits and a warm coat, but it’s important to be reasonable with yourself.
How to reduce clothing waste
You still want to look presentable, especially if your job entails a professional appearance, but it is important to acknowledge what is necessary to maintain this and what goes beyond necessity.
Be honest with yourself and question your assumptions about what you really need. Trade at thrift shops. When you do feel you need something new, try trading in something you no longer need at a thrift shop.
This will keep your clothing fresh without old or unused clothing piling up.Give away unwanted clothing. Even if you think nobody could make use of it, chances are someone could.
Try do donating to organizations like Goodwill or clothing drives for the needy.
As much as we try to avoid it, our clothes do get stained or wear out to the point that nobody would want to wear them. This is where the fun begins.
Recycling unwanted garments can be an enjoyable and creative process that leads to a great sense of satisfaction. The possibilities are limitless, but we’ve got a few suggestions to help you get started.
• Make them new. Dye your shirt a new color, sew on buttons or patches, make cut off jeans, cut or rip your clothing and wear it as an accessory.
• Turn them into accessories. Headbands, hair ties, ribbons, belts, you name it. Turn an old sweater into a hat, mittens, or leg warmers.
• Cover up. The fabric of old clothing can be used to cover everything from favorite books to lampshades or cork-boards.
• Make a quilt, a throw or a pillow case.
• Cut strips and weave them into pot holders or (if you’re a little more ambitious) a rug.
• Make rags. Why buy rags when you already have them in old t-shirt form?
• Make a bag or tote from old jeans.• Make toys. Puppets, dolls, anything goes!
Hopefully you’re now a little closer to being one hundred percent waste free. Doing your part is fun, economical, and leaves a sense of satisfaction. Enjoy the journey, and be sure to contact us to find out more about the support we can offer!
How to reduce food waste
Food, glorious food! While you can reduce waste by cutting down on many things you buy, food is (thankfully) a rather unavoidable purchase.
So how do you shop smart to avoid the creation of needless waste? With these tips, your reusable cloth shopping bag will become a vehicle to change the world–one meal at a time.
• Paper or plastic?
Neither! Imagine all how many grocery stores there are in the country.
Now imagine all of the people that stream through them everyday, each carrying their groceries out in multiple paper and plastic bags–most of which will be used only once. Imagine how much waste could be saved if everybody took their own cloth bag!
Just keep yours in the car or by the grocery list so you won’t forget, and make a commitment to yourself to use it every time you shop, even if it means running back out to the car to get it.
Even one person making this choice will safe thousands of paper and plastic bags from being wasted during their lifetime.
• Buy only what you need.
The Native American tribes that walked this land before us would hunt or scavenge for food, making sure to take only what they needed. Bring this same sentiment to the grocery store, being deliberate about what you buy.
More than forty percent of food produced in the US is wasted! Do your part by making a list of what you need and sticking with it, or just becoming more aware of what you will actually use.
• Use what you have.
One way to become more aware of this is to make sure you use what you have already bought. Make a promise to yourself that for the next month, you won’t throw away any food.
Sure, you might end up eating a few overripe bananas, but that’s precisely the point–when you create accountability for yourself, you are more prone to make real changes (tip: overripe bananas are delicious in smoothies!).
• Buy food without packaging.
Even if you eat all of the food you buy, quite a bit of waste is created by the packaging of the food. And you know what? Food without packaging is healthier!
Think about it: most fresh fruits and vegetables don’t require any packaging. Neither do freshly baked breads (rather than the alternative which tend to carry preservatives), and other healthy things like nuts and whole grains require little.
• Change where you shop.
The easiest change to make is buying in the bulk section. Not only does is cut down on packaging, it saves you money as well! Ready to try an alternative that will avoid creating waste, decrease your carbon footprint, support the local community, and save you money?
Try shopping at the local farmer’s market. There is little to no packaging, and buying directly from the farmer decreases the cost of produce and gives a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
• Grow your own!
Fresh herbs are an especially good start. Because they spoil so quickly, store-bought herbs are often thrown away before they are used. Herbs are easy to grow (you can even do it inside) and will be right there whenever you need them.
If you’re a little more adventurous, start with a small garden growing some of your family’s staple foods, and expand as you gain experience.