We love buying clothes!
The average British family spends about £1,700 on clothes every year and we keep them for about 2 years. Around one third of the clothes we own have not been worn in the past year so they sit in our cupboards and wardrobes until we have a clear-out.
Getting hold of clothes is the easy bit because they can be quite cheap and are available everywhere. The biggest problem with clothing is actually the huge amounts of energy, water and chemicals used to make them in the first place.
Around half of the clothing and textiles we buy are made from cotton and the other half from synthetics (like plastic). Cotton in particular needs loads of water to grow and the process usually involves lots of chemicals too. It takes about 20,000 litres of water to make one cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans! Cotton is often grown in areas which do not have a lot of natural water.
The best thing to do with old clothes is to reuse them because this reduces the energy needed to make new ones, however even though two thirds of us wear second hand clothes, experts have worked out that we still throw away about £140 million worth of usable clothes and textiles which could have been reused.
It takes approximately ten times more energy to make one tonne of clothing than it takes to make one tonne of glass.
Even clothes and textiles which can’t be reused can be recycled providing they are clean and dry, check your local recycling banks to see what they can take.
We can donate them, sell them, reuse them and recycle them so their really is no need to dispose of them!