If you want to green up your wardrobe here are a few things to think about:
- Buy second hand clothing and textiles where possible.
- Buy fewer more durable garments.
- When buying new products, choose those made with the least energy and least toxic emissions, made by workers paid a credible living wage with reasonable employment rights and conditions.
- Hire or borrow clothes.
- Wash clothes less often at lower temperatures and using eco-detergents, line dry them and avoid ironing where possible.
- Extend the life of clothing and textile products through repair.
- Dispose of used clothing and textiles through recycling businesses who would return them for second-hand sale wherever possible, but otherwise extract and recycle the yarn or fibres.
From: ‘Well dressed? The present and future sustainability of clothing and textiles in the United Kingdom’ Julian M Allwood, Soren Ellebaek Laursen, Cecilia Malvido de Rodriguez and Nancy M Bocken, 1996.
Standard clothing labels at the back of your jumper give you an indication of the material and the country of origin. However, these generally give no information on the working conditions and the treatment and dying processes. Eco labels therefore play an increasing role. There are a number of labels to look out for such as the European Union’s Öeko-Tex Standard 100 which regulates substances in raw materials as well as finished products, and every stage in between, and labels which ensure protection of workers such as FairTrade and FairWear labels. Further details are provided on our eco-labels page.