The Problem with Textile Waste
Author: Mel Broughton Date Posted:21 February 2019
With the call to simplify being amplified into our houses through addictive Netflix shows I began to ask myself, “Are we thinking about the full life cycle of the things we’re chucking out?”
Living simply is what we are all about at Bamboo Body. Pick the pieces that you love, that are adaptable and timeless. But we all have to start somewhere and this often involves a cleanse.
As a textile designer I love fabric! But as someone who cares about our environment I’m saddened by the devastating effect the industry that I love can have. When I discovered that textile waste is the third highest contributor to our world’s waste problem it made me look at my clothes differently. This is also why I love buying bamboo clothing because of the environmental benefits! But what do I do with my old clothing that’s clogging up my wardrobe? Instead of throwing your clothes into landfill here are some of the fun ways I’ve given my old clothing new life:
Re-purposing is one of my faves! All you need is an old item of clothing that may be beyond repair, a sewing machine (or needle and thread) and a creative mind.
In the design process I get sent fabric samples so we can approve the print before production. With the fabric samples I’ve been collecting I’ve started making scrunchies. Scrunchies are so easy to make, you don’t even need a sewing machine, but scrunchies are just the beginning. You could make a tote bag out of an old dress or a pencil case out of some ripped jeans. Be creative and have fun!
If you don’t have a simple sewing kit at home it’s a great investment! Just a needle and thread can add that button that fell off. Just because something has a hole doesn't mean you need to say bon voyage! Simple fixes can extend the life of your favourite shirt.
I have this one down the bottom because Op Shops are often flooded with clothing but if you have some pieces that are still in good nick then donating is a quick and easy solution.
It’s all about changing our mindsets on waste. Rather than buying a $5 fast fashion t-shirt invest in a quality made, environmentally friendly shirt that you won’t give up any time soon.
Other alternatives include clothing swaps, try your hand at selling it on eBay, alter it so it looks totally different! There are even specific drop off points that allow you to recycle your textile waste, giving it new life and keeping it out of landfill.
What do you do to reduce waste? Let us know below so we can be inspired by you!
Op Shop DonationsBy: Emily on 22 February 2019Thanks for writing this! It's a good idea to ask what your local op shop does with the items that they can't sell. My local (Salvos) sends 'seconds' clothing overseas to communities who need clothes, no matter what the condition. Other op shops create 'bags of rags' for builders etc. It pays to ask!
Bamboo Body Response
Yeah great point, thanks Emily!
Sparking Joy with Upcycling!By: Mel Martin on 22 February 2019Great blog thank you. Yes we are so heavily conditioned to be consumerable and use and throw, particularly the younger generations. Going back a little old world is nothing to be ashamed about as I love it! I have to admit I do find it hard to throw out things and do always like to hang on as I am a creative person I see lots of potential in everything- this too can be a curse! However, the last few years as I have been working through the minimising and clearing out process and being “Konmaried” like many, I have found many old items of clothing that still ‘spark joy’ and so I have repurposed them and upcycled where possible, as I do sew. It may be changing to newer buttons or removing sleeves so it’s sleeveless and yes making scrunchies or using remnant off cuts for other crafty projects like shopping totoe bags (I’m a art facilitator so there’s lots to reuse in classes)....I just love it when people say “love the new outfit” and I smile and say “thanks!” I am grateful that I am giving back to the environment in some way. I also try to take unwanted clothing to Op Shops and also buy from Op Shops. Some perfectly great items to be found. My Bamboo Body pieces have lasted a really long time with TLC, I love them or also repurpose them.
Bamboo Body Response
Upcycling and Op Shopping are some of my favourite pastimes too! You're so right, we really have been conditioned to consume. Thanks for your encouragement!
So much you can do!By: Yvonne Berry-Porter on 21 February 2019Old woollen jumpers can be felted (in the dyer or with very hot water), cut into squares or random shapes and sewn onto a backing (quilts, laprugs, cushion covers). Same with fabric scraps- make curtains, wall hangings, edging on towels/sheets/tea towels etc. Many open weave fabrics can be Nuno-felted as bags, hats, jackets. Muslin makes great cuddle wraps for babies (can donate for premmies in hospital) Heavier cotton, old canvas etc makes great carry bags to keep in the car when shopping, or for making washable hanging shoe storage (just sew rectangles onto a backing, add Velcro loops), Patchwork covers for doggy beds, table runners or tablecloths, kids laundry bags and book bags. Can cut old remnants into 2-3” wide long strips, sew ends into a long rope and plait 3 strips together- sew flat for a simple rag rug. If sewing isn’t your thing, lots of stuff can be made by glueing fabric onto surfaces (tissue box, photo albums, furniture etc). If fabric is beyond repair, I cut it up and use as stuffing for cushions, or use as rags. So many possibilities!
Bamboo Body Response
Amazing, so many great ideas I'll have to try myself! Thanks for sharing!