We’ve gathered our top tips for creating a low waste wardrobe. From repurposing and up-cycling your clothing, to choosing brands that source fabrics from certified suppliers and practice sustainable processes. When looking to build, add, or reduce your wardrobe consider these ideas to make the process as waste-free as possible!
REPURPOSE OLD CLOTHING
Have an old top that needs to go in the trash? Chop it up into pieces to use it as a cleaning rag. If the clothing is made of natural fibres you could even use it to make your own DIY wax food wraps.
COMPOST NATURAL FIBRES
If your clothing is completely worn out, beyond saving, and made entirely of natural fibres you can compost it or put it in a worm farm. If your clothing is made partly of natural fibres, you can put it in a worm farm, and the worms will eat the natural fibres, leaving the synthetic elements. This is a great option if you don’t have access to textile recycling.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR CLOTHING
Loved clothes last longer. There is a huge amount of textile waste and overproduction/overconsumption that consumers contribute to, so it’s important to take care of what you have. The most sustainable wardrobe is the one sitting in your closet right now. Opt for natural fibres, which are more breathable and don’t hold on to smells or stains as easily as synthetic clothing. When possible, choose items that don’t require ironing or dry cleaning, they will save you time and energy. Try to aim for at least more than one wear per item before washing it. A good tip to keep them feeling fresh is to hang them back up to “air out” between wearings.
Mend your clothing or use a seamstress to fix your clothing to reduce waste and keep your favourite pieces timeless.
BUY FROM GOOD QUALITY + SUSTAINABLE BRANDS
Purchase pieces that are made well, made to last, and made to protect our planet. Do your research before buying new clothing with slow fashion in mind. Find pieces that are made using natural fibers that you can mix and match easily with the rest of your closet to create your dream capsule wardrobe of high-quality interchangeable pieces. Brands like LACAUSA, Sanica, Spell, Faithful the Brand, Rue Stiic, Sanctuary, Naif and Smash + Tess are just a few great examples of brands taking steps to become more sustainable, by sourcing fabrics from certified suppliers and practicing sustainable and ethical processes.
DONATE OR SELL YOUR CLOTHING
There are many ways to continue your clothing’s life cycle. Bring your pieces into a consignment store in exchange for money or credit, or sell them online. These are great alternatives to throwing your old clothing in the trash.
If you’re looking for a quick way to clear out your closet, consider donating. Most communities have not-for-profits that accept clothing donations, or drop your pieces off at a donation bin located throughout most cities. Diabetes Canada has many ways you can donate clothing throughout Canada.
Add some character to your wardrobe by adding the odd thrifted piece. Thrifting is a great way to find unique, authentic clothing and continue that piece’s life cycle.
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CLOTHING
Repurposing clothing is a really fun way to reduce your wardrobe waste. Such as cutting the legs off a pair of old jeans to make them into a pair of frayed shorts. Or, try your hand at tie-dying an old t-shirt or sweater. You can even make your own dye by boiling avocado pits which makes a beautiful natural pink dye.
DON'T BUY PLASTIC HANGERS
Opt for wooden or metal if you need to buy new hangers, better yet buy second-hand hangers instead of plastic ones.
WASH YOUR CLOTHING WITH LOW WASTE, ECO-FRIENDLY DETERGENTS
The best thing for cleaning dirt and oils is soap, but not all soap is created equal. From sourcing practices, to additives, to packaging, choosing a low-impact option that works best with your machine and water is important. Powdered detergents reduce water waste and the amount of storage space needed. Refill options in your community are also a great way to reduce plastic waste. Some of our favourite Okanagan refilleries include FILL, Chickpea Zero Waste, and Footprints.
Another great option is our Good Juju natural, plastic-free laundry detergent strips. Compared to regular liquid detergents, each 30-strip envelope prevents a one litre plastic jug from entering the landfill and results in a 94% reduction in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. Each strip has the perfect amount of detergent for a one wash and will dissolve when added to water. They’re also made with clean ingredients, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, vegan friendly, and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.
You can even try your hand at making your own DIY laundry detergent.
Lastly, don’t be discouraged by not being perfectly zero waste, do your best each day and begin by making small changes. We hope these tips can start you off in the right direction!