How To Shop Without Hurting The Planet
No time to shop and feeling guilty about buying fast fashion? We have you covered with the top places to shop online that won’t hurt the planet.
Finding time to shop for clothes can be difficult enough, especially coming up to big events. Between work and family and possibly planning as an unfortunate party host, there’s little time to trance around the shops on a Tuesday afternoon looking for outfits for everyone.
Not only is it hard to find time but when you find something that will do, you can bet it’s doing no favours for the environment. Fashion is the second biggest polluter in the world just after the oil industry.
Clothes almost always end up in landfill or are incinerated. In Ireland, 225,000 tonnes of textile waste are disposed of every year. Ordering clothes online from super cheap websites often means they are also travelling large distances and creating an even larger carbon footprint.
It also wastes a huge amount of water. It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one t-shirt because cotton needs so much to grow. And if not cotton, polyester creates harmful microplastics when dumped and has ended up in our own diet through fish.
Not only this but water used in the making and dying of clothes is dumped directly into rivers after use in many countries; this is untreated and toxic to wildlife and people.
You can reduce your carbon footprint very easily by choosing what clothes you buy and how you buy them.
Buying vintage is not only in fashion but so much better for the environment, and has never been easier. Depop has made a surge in Ireland and means you can find almost exactly what you want, have it delivered to your door, or meet the seller where it suits you. Not only does it have clothes, but plenty of shoes, accessories and some art.
You can download the app to get started and create an account. From there you can search what you’re looking for and the size you want. Then scroll through the Instagram-like feed and have a look at the selection in your spare time.
Items from Ireland come up first and you can message the seller and bargain with them if you wish and organise how you’ll get the item. Note that payments are all done mostly through PayPal which is also very easy to set up.
People get ratings on how they sell and deliver, so you can be sure you won’t be scammed by someone with 5 stars.
The selection is great for women and men, and the selection of kids clothes is beginning to grow. Not only can you buy here, but you can also sell. Those grown out kids' clothes that could easily see another generation and are just a bit too good to give away? Depop.
If you’re not keen on the idea of used clothing there are still plenty of socially and environmentally responsible brands for you to choose from.
ASOS actually has an Eco Brand section with all of their clothes made of organic and recycled materials, as well as some skincare.
An Irish company that takes ethical clothing making very seriously, and plants a native Irish tree for every item they make. They are a bit pricey but pride themselves on being part of the slow fashion movement and on their ‘made to last’ garments.
Another Irish company who make a big effort to source all of their products from companies who share their sustainable values. They were listed as 'Best Boutique in Ireland' by the Irish Times in 2012 and one of "The Top Best 30 Shops In Ireland' by Hot Press in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
A UK company uses a series of stamps to show how the products on its website are made, whether they are fairly made, organic, vegan, recycled, carbon reduced, chemical free or otherwise.
A UK company that makes long-lasting capsule wardrobe style clothes from quality organic fabrics. These are pricey but made to last for years.
This company produce ethically made clothing and donates all its profits to orphaned and abandoned children around the world.
Other brands who try their best to produce ethically are Fresh Cuts, Madia and Matilda, Nobody’s Child and Thought.
If you’re scouting out a brand yourself, see if they are fairly made and watch out for materials like acrylic, polyester, viscose rayon, conventional cotton and tanning leather which have a negative impact on the environment.
If you’d like to find out how your favourite brands make their clothes, ask them! Holding the people you buy from to account is important for transparency and to create change.
Written by Róise McGagh, Intern at Family Friendly HQ; follow her on Twitter @roisemcgagh