Day 8 - Clothing At The End Of Its Life
I've been thinking a lot about how much clothing I own versus how much I actually wear, and how much I really need. My wardrobe could definitely do with some editing, and I own a few pieces that are still in OK condition and could be given to Goodwill or charity.
In the past, I've cut up bath towels that are full of holes and mascara stains and repurposed them as cleaning rags for my home or (most often) my bicycle. The same could be done with old tees and woven shirts.
But how many old cleaning rags does a person really need, and what's to be done with textiles that are left over after you've given all your good clothes away and are fully stocked in cleaning rags?
This is where clothing recycling comes into play. I've had a hard time locating a clothing recycling service in India, but many U.S. cities have textile recycling programs. Many local charities and thrift stores will also take your recycable textiles no longer suitable for wear. Almost all clothing is recyclable, from shoes to sports jerseys to undergarments. Earth911 has some good info on recycling textiles.
TerraCycle is also a great organization in the U.S., Europe, and Pacific Asia, that recycles almost anything imaginable. Some of their recycling programs are free, but for others, you purchase a Zero Waste Box for a particular type of item, and once it's full you ship it back to them for free. The boxes can be a bit pricey, but you're really paying for the convenience of shipping and the peace of mind of knowing your items are going somewhere they'll be properly recycled. You can also go in on a box with your local school or community center.
Textile recycling centers will separate items by material, removing trims like zippers and eyelets, and the fabric itself will be broken down into pulp and made into either recycled yarn, or other materials like insulation or furniture padding. Polyester textiles can be melted down into polyester pellets and re-made into new polyester .
Obviously, it's always better to extend the life of clothing as long as possible before sending it to be downcycled, but it's good to know there are options for those items which just don't have any more wear in them in their current state.
My beautiful farmer friend wrote me an email with a whole lot of information relevant to my current quest for the right balance in my food choices, and the unique perspective of someone who spends every single day in the dedicated service of the animals in her care.
Spending the weekend in a place like this gave me hope that despite what humans have done to ravage the planet, incredible biodiversity still exists, and there are people who are actively safeguarding it.
I WANTED TO SCREAM. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop every person I saw walking along the water and say "WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING?!" at the top of my lungs.
Remember that this exercise is about awareness and gradual change, not overnight perfection.
It takes 660 gallons of water just to produce enough beef to make 1 burger.
Craig Leeson's film is a soul stirring, shocking, inspiring work, which I think everyone should see.
There are many ways in which going zero waste can lead to greater financial freedom, and adjusting our food choices to be less wasteful is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money.
In a city that is quickly becoming more and more urbanized, it was refreshing to hear how these two women are standing up for children's need to play, and re-using existing materials in order to do it.
If you're like me and don't know the difference between sleep, hibernate, and shut down modes, let me help you out. It's pretty simple.
I'm angry about this. I'm sad. I'm incredulous that the leader of the free world could be so careless with the future of the next generation.