We know what we like to wear, but do we know how it’s affecting the environment? Remember, the way we dress today is the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. Let’s see what can be done better by knowing what to avoid.
The Worst Fabrics for the Environment Include:
- Nylon — When Nylon is made, nitrus oxide is released into the air, a greenhouse gas 310 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. The cooling process of creating this fiber uses an excessive amount of water. It is also not biodegradable.
- Acrylic — The synthetic material used in sweaters and faux fur is cancer-causing according to the EPA, specifically consisting of polycrylonitriles. It is also not biodegradable.
- Polyester — Often blended with cotton into tee shirts and stretchy dresses, polyester is made from petrol chemicals, the residue which is absorbed into the skin. Often new garments made from this material give off a toxic odor. It is also not biodegradable.
- Rayon — Made from wood chips, the creation of this fabric uses an excessive amount of chemicals in the process.
- Plastics — This one should be obvious but isn’t. If you feel bad about throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage after you drink your Nestle water, then do not buy any clothing or accessories in vinyl, pleather, or otherwise plastic, regardless of how shiny and cool-looking it might be. It can not be recycled, and is destined for a landfill.
What to Do?
Wear your nylons longer. It’s ok to keep wearing them even after they are torn. Reuse your old nylons – be creative. They are great as a face mask for a costume. Always buy the best quality you can so they last longer. The best pair (I’ve had mine for two years without any holes) are Wolford Velvet Deluxe and you can pick up a pair here. Proper care also makes your clothing last longer, the best detergent to use for lingerie and hosiery or just about anything is Forever New. Just 15 mins in the sink and your tights are fresh again!
Do not buy any more synthetic clothing. Seeking out alternatives may feel like a difficult task at first, especially when brands make it so enticing to buy cheaply made clothes and it’s so convenient! But together we must consider what it is doing to the planet and the public health worldwide. Instead of a faux fur jacket full of Nasty toxins, you can order a recycled silk fur piece from I Love You Bedford. There are also many pieces in the store made from Merino Wool sourced sustainably from carefully preserved quality deadstock so there is no need to wear anything acrylic.
Use your old tee shirts as rags for dusting. Give your old clothes to another person you know will wear them, instead of the charities which end up sending most of it to landfills. Have a trusted tailor keep up your favorite garments with regular repairs. Check the fabric that clothing is made from before you buy (or accept as a gift for my blogger pals) anything new to make sure it doesn’t have these toxic materials. By avoiding toxic fabrics and caring for our nylons so we can wear them longer, we can ensure the future generations will have cleaner air and water.