Do You Know Where Your Clothes Come From?

Many of us attempt to live sustainable lives as best we can when it comes to the food we eat or the energy we consume for our transportation and homes. What often gets ignored is the waste and environmental degradation that comes from the clothes we purchase.

80 Billion articles of clothing are bought each year. In the U.S., by some estimates, the average person throws away up to 80 lbs of clothing a year. Often chemical laden clothing, 85% of which, ends up in landfills, polluting ground water if not contained.

The growing of cotton, which much of our clothing is made from, has destroyed and continues to degrade vast amounts of our top soils. The depth and richness of top soil in the U.S. is what helped make this such a powerful country. It hadn’t been destroyed by ‘civilizations’ prior to settlement by Eurasians. Industrial agriculture sure changed that in a relatively short time.

I choose to wear my clothes out. They become tattered and hole ridden. I’m sure people see me and think that I live in poverty. How do you feel about being seen with holes in your clothes because you are uncomfortable with what other people might think? So you throw them away, adding to the waste stream and soil degradation.

Where are your clothes manufactured? In unsafe factories in some impoverished region of the world? Where people are barely able to live, and often don’t survive? Are they organic or filled with chemicals that adversely affect our environment? How much clothing do you buy that contains hemp?

What’s more important than what other people think about you is what you think about you. Feel good about yourself by questioning your values. Leaving a small footprint gives future generations more of a chance.

Reclaim: Reducing the World of Waste might lend some ideas on how to limit your footprint.