Can Buying New Clothing Be Eco-Friendly?

Suffering from wardrobe fatique, sheer boredom with the options and thinking about buying new clothing, but want to do it in an eco friendly way?


If you’re like me, you probably get tired of your wardrobe almost every season. I’m not going to call myself a shopaholic, but I certainly get an extra kick in my step rummaging through a rack at the department store. Can buying new clothing be eco-friendly?

That’s why it’s always so upsetting to know that every time I buy a new blouse, I’m also making a negative impact on the environment.

Let me break it down real quick. Here are just a few of the very “un-green” facts about the clothing we wear:

How Can Buying New Clothing Be Eco-Friendly and Not So Friendly?

Insecticides: The textile industry uses an astounding amount of insecticide. A whopping 22.5% of pesticides in the world are used for growing cotton alone.

Water Consumption: Everything we wear consumes a lot of water to grow and manufacture. In fact, growing enough cotton to make one T-shirt has been estimated to require as much as 257 gallons of water.


Run-off Pollution: Clothing dyes use massive amounts of water and in many part of the world (China, India, Indonesia) where the majority of the world’s clothing is manufactured, the dyes and bleaches are carelessly discarded as  run-off pollution that harms water ecosystems and drinking supplies.

Non-Biodegradable:  Man-made synthetic fibers like nylon, polyester or lycra pose, their own environmental problems. The nylon manufacturing process emits nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  Not to mention the fact that most man-made textiles are non-renewable and non-biodegradable. Nylon can take 40 years, even longer to decompose in a landfill, but more and more garbage is incinerated these days.

Dry Cleaning: Wearing an article with a “dry-clean only” tag can place a serious burden on the environment – and our bodies. Dry cleaners use a harsh chemical called Perchloroethylene, or perc, which is highly toxic for the ecosystem and for our personal health. Unfortunately, all dry cleaners use this chemical so the only real way to avoid it is to not have your clothing dry-cleaned.




Be sure to also read these other Green Blizzard articles: Gift Ideas For A Green Handyman, What is Phantom Electricity, Green Cleaning Products.

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About the author

Samantha Frapart

Samantha was the first staff writer at Green Blizzard, way back during the start-up phase, and has written a series of fresh and spirited articles from the millennial's perspective. Samantha's portfolio of green living tips ranges from green apartment living, urban transportation options, green underwear choices, re-usable coffee cups, bathroom habits, and even…. drinking straws.

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