Landfills in the UK are becoming a huge problem. With the drop in the price of recycled products, the issue is what to do with all of the waste that we produce. The breakdown of waste in landfill sites creates huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane. There are also many products that will not breakdown and will remain in the environment forever with the potential to contaminate water supplies.
Traid, a charity specializing in the recycling of textiles reports that 900,000 tons of shoes and clothing are thrown away each year in the UK. Only 200,000 tons per year are recycled and the rest is dumped in landfill. The government estimates that similar amounts of between 550,000 and 900,000 tons of textiles are thrown away each year.
In addition to the problems of waste and landfill in the UK, there is also the consideration of the energy used and waste generated by the manufacture and distribution of clothing and textiles. Growth of cotton uses a huge amount of chemical pesticides and environmentally damaging cultivation methods. The manufacture of man made fabrics also has a huge environmental impact with. Demand for polyester the most widely used synthetic fabric has almost doubled in the last 15 years. The manufacture of polyester uses large amounts of crude oil and an energy-intensive process. It releases emissions including volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and acid gases such as hydrogen chloride, all of which can cause health problems for workers by causing or aggravating respiratory disease.
Second hand clothing is becoming more popular as people begin to recognise the real costs of fast fashion. Consumers are becoming more aware of their buying choices and ways that they can help the environment.
Finally, there is one more great reason to recycle second hand clothing. Just because you are fed up with a piece of clothing or it does not fit you nay more, it does not mean that it has no worth. You can make sure that the worth of your second hand clothing is realized by swapping it at a swishing party on a clothes swapping website, selling it or donating it to your favorite charity.