Thursday, June 14, 2012

My 100th Post: "American Clothing Consumption."

I originally started this blog last year to bring awareness to environmental, social and worldly issues. Today for my 100th post, I return to that mission to discuss American clothing consumption.

"American Clothing Consumption."

Today I learned a frightening statistic: that the average American buys 64 items of clothing per year. In 2009, that averaged almost $1900 per person. Considering overall income: clothing and apparel services was only about 4% of an American's total income: see graph below for the visual economics of expenditures.
(Click on Photo to enlarge.)
However, this number (64 items on average per person) was shocking. Then I thought about how many of these clothing items are NOT recycled, reused, or redistributed and I decided that it's time for a Sustainability Reinvigoration! Please donate your used clothing and items to one of the following charities: (click on linked name for locations) the Salvation Army, Goodwill, the American Red CrossVietnam Veterans "Pick Up Donation" service, and more instead of throwing them out. (If your favorite donation charity is not listed, please add the link to it under the "Comments" section of this post!)

Another fashion issue to consider for increased sustainability is the quality of clothes purchased. The cheaper or more badly made the clothing item, the less "wear and tear" it has and the more likely it is to be thrown out. The "trendier" the item, the more likely it will be thrown out within a few seasons! There was an interesting interview with Elizabeth L.Cline (the author of the new book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashionon the other issues with "cheap fashion" on, about the environmental and human costs as well. Her wisdom? Buy clothing guaranteed to last, that is "classic," and comfortable. 

How do you determine the value of a brand in regards to Sustainability? For this information, I turn to my trusted Better World Shopping Guide. (As a young teacher, my means are limited, but there can be power in every dollar I spend if I spend it the right way.) Check out your favorite brands from the Better World Shopping Guide's Clothing Brand Analysis. To find out how they created these rankings (based on Human Rights, the Environment, Animal Protection, Community Involvement, and Social Justice) please visit their website here.  

"In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation... even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine." - “The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law.

By educating yourself about the sustainability of the brands you buy, by buying better and buying less, and by recycling all of the clothes that we need to get rid of, we can change the world.

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