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How to reduce water consumption and pollution through fashion

words by Clotilde Moullec

June 11, 2021

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You must have read the title and thought we were pushing it a bit, but no, we’re serious! With the tips we are going to offer below, not only will you reduce water consumption, you will also reduce water pollution. 

Around 50% of our clothing is made from plastic. Not only synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon, but also cotton, linen and rayon, which have been so impregnated with chemicals that they aren’t able to naturally biodegrade.

Due to this, everytime you launch a washing cycle with a full machine load, up to 700000 micro plastics can be ejected into our waterways and oceans.

But there is always a solution to making sure you take care of our oceans through clothing and fashion. Here are a few of our tips:

  1. Rewear, keep longer

This is an SYW classic. And yes, we know this can be done to better the environment but it is also the case specifically with the oceans. New clothes release much more microplastics into the oceans and waterways when being washed than older clothes do. Therefore, the longer you are keeping your clothes, the less microplastics you are releasing into the ocean.

Keeping your clothes longer also enables you to reduce the creation of new clothing which helps the oceans in terms of water pollution due to dyeing as well as the consumption of water.

  1. Wash less, wash well

One of the biggest culprits in the fight against microplastics is washing. As fibres rub against each other during a wash cycle, they will release more and more microplastics into the water. Higher temperatures also have the tendency to damage fibres and textiles more easily.

So take your time thinking if you need to wash your clothes or not. If you only have a small stain on your denim, why not just use a cloth to take off the stain and not clean the whole pair of jeans? It will also keep your denim looking good as new. We also recommend washing by hand and at low temperatures to make sure your clothes stay looking good while limiting water pollution.

  1. Use washing bags

One technique that filters out microplastics is laundry bags. Though the bags themselves are often made of synthetic materials such as nylon, they reduce microplastic waste by having multiple pieces of clothing in one place and reducing fibre shedding of the pieces.

With brands such as Guppybag, you can even get them recycled once they have reached the end of their life, meaning they wouldn’t end up in landfill and be reused for new bags. 

  1. Air dry 

Just like washing, drying your clothes in the dryer has consequences both for your clothing and the oceans. With fibers rubbing against one another, clothes’ lifecycle tend to be much shorter and it increases the shedding of microplastics.

Moreover, a dryer’s heat will also cause wear and tear to your garments, inflicting microscopic damage. This will lead to a weakening of the fabrics and the clothes’ lifecycle being reduced.

  1. You don’t have to do it alone!

Now these tips are great, but what if you simply want to make sure your choices around fashion and clothes are responsible in regards to the environment but don’t have the time to think about all of this when sorting through your clothes or choosing them? We’ve got you covered.

Save Your Wardrobe’s ecosystem of services enables you to repair, alter, clean or donate your clothes, all through one simple platform. Just click on your item and choose the service you would like, or go to our services tab. You can then choose a service that will enable you to be more responsible towards the oceans.

Taking care of our oceans is very important to keep a balanced ecosystem, but that is also the case for our environment in general. Check out some more fashion actions you can take for our environment in our last blog.

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