What Is A Carbon Footprint And How Is it Relevant To Fashion?
Every single one of us has a direct impact on the well-being of our planet.
You probably don't think about this very often. I mean I’m sure that big promotion, Saturday nights blind date or your Instagram feed which you've seen about a thousand times probably seems way more important than a couple of new trees in the Amazon rainforest.
But in an age  where we are now seeing record breaking high temperatures on a global scale year after year -accompanied with an increase in natural disasters. Our individual efforts to reduce carbon emissions are now needed more than ever.
The term carbon footprint is a phrase to describe the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, or community and each day your decisions determine whether your carbon footprint is either neutral or negative.
Simple actions such as turning your lights off , recycling and walking small journeys will all help conserve valuable (and often finite) resources, which will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint. However. What isn’t as obvious- is how your fashion choices can negatively impact our planet.
When re-buffing your wardrobe, be environmentally mindful
Purchase fashion that’s locally-made
In a culture where next day delivery & free returns has become such an imperative option for the online shopper. Buying clothes locally is a great way to minimise the amount of miles petrol thirsty trucks have to travel when driving goods from the warehouse to your doorstep. Plus, smaller brands in your area are more likely to give out exclusive discounts and loyalty perks to help grow their business. Reach out and drop them a call or email. Diversify the ways in which you shop.
Look out for certified organic fabrics
Cotton especially. Cotton is one of the most popular types of fabric and yes it is a natural fibre. However, the current methods of cotton production are very carbon intensive, and often require a heavy dose of pesticides and fertilisers to speed up production. Each year cotton producers around the world use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides — more than 10 per cent of the world’s pesticides and nearly 25 per cent of the world’s insecticides.
You can neutralise your carbon footprint by purchasing items made from organic cotton. Certified organic cotton uses sustainable fertilising practices and is grown without harmful pesticides. Be thorough when checking garment descriptions and look out for fabrics labelled organic.
Reduce your footprint after you shop
Globally, nearly half of CO2 emissions associated with fashion actually come from electricity usage linked with individuals over washing, tumble-drying and ironing. The electricity to power devices which carry out such tasks are predominantly generated by coal-fired power stations, and other non-renewable energy sources. Changing your washing habits is so easy and although turning your washing machine down 20 degrees and spending more money on effective stain removers might seem inconvenient and insignificant; small collective actions in masses really can advocate effective change.
Embrace the air-dry
The first step is to ease your reliance on the home dryer. Hang your clothes out to dry and let that boiling hot thing in the sky do its natural thing. Dry delicates flat, and turn colourful items inside-out to stop fading. Even a gentle breeze on a mild day is usually enough to trump tumble drying speed; get those pegs out and don't be lazy!
Choose the cold cycle
Pay attention to the washing instructions! Read the label and you’ll be surprised how many items can actually be washed in cold water. This not only saves on heating but will, for the most part, increase the longevity of your clothes. If your machine has an ‘Eco’ setting, use that baby to save water and power!
Nobody cares about that tiny spec of dirt on the underside of your sleeve.
Don’t wash your clothes too often if you can help it. You probably know that denim jeans don’t need regular washing, but neither do most pants. (The brand director for Levi’s washes his jeans every six months.)
And it’s so much more energy efficient to attempt to spot clean an area before you throw the whole garment in the wash. This handy guide recommends washing your undies , socks, and stockings after one wear, but that shirt you wore out to dinner for four hours? Back in the cupboard – it won’t need washing yet unless there's more gravy than t-shirt.
What other ways do you try to reduce the carbon footprint of your clothing habits? Maybe you change out of your work clothes into PJs as soon as you get home to keep them clean longer, or have a favourite brand for quality classic pieces? Let us know in the comments!