According to a recent study (2020) each person in Britain throws away about 3.1kg of clothes and textiles every year, and that 1.7kg of fashion waste is landfilled yearly per person.
This page largely focuses on clothes as the UK is reportedly the fourth largest producer of textile waste in Europe. Check out our top tips below on reducing, recycling and repairing your clothes and other shop-bought items.
If you have some top tips you'd like to share please contact Horsham District Council and we can add them to these pages.
- Buy less stuff! Rising demands for raw materials to make these things – like oil, metals and water – are damaging the environment. Why not hire tools or borrow from friends or family for odd jobs, rather than buying your own.
- Don’t buy it unless you love it. If you do not feel comfortable in it, you will not wear it no matter how many friends tell you it suits you.
- Buy better! Know what is in your wardrobe and buy clothes that will go with items you already own. Doing this means you can revive your look whilst making the most of each item you buy.
- A new dress is a lovely thing and can make the occasion feel special. However, one dress that suits you really well and makes you feel confident and comfortable can have the same effect and you will want to put it on. If you want to get something new consider instead using a small accessory to update your outfit, a broach, a scarf, necklace or a hair accessory.
- Buy fewer clothes and wear them for longer. Make it worth the time you spent selecting your clothes because you chose only pieces you love and worth the wages you spent on it because you shopped as sustainably as you can afford. Soon you will end up with a whole wardrobe that makes you look good and feel confident and you can feel extra brilliant because you shopped for it all in a sustainable manner.
- Food shopping. This is of course a whole separate topic in itself, both in terms of what food we buy, what we eat, where we buy it from, and what we waste.
- Shopping locally means your money stays in the community, reduces waste from all that parcel and delivery packaging and helps the circular economy.
- Supporting our local shops may mean that you don’t need to use your car. Car emissions account for 15% of the UK’s overall carbon emissions according to the Energy Saving Trust – that’s 85 million tonnes – and many of those journeys are not actually necessary.
- Shopping local also gives you access to locally produced, unique items that haven’t been mass-produced. And don’t we all like the friendliness and the personal nature of interacting with owners of small businesses?
- Wash at lower temperatures and use liquid rather than a powdered detergent as this uses less energy, less bleach and helps your clothes last longer. Modern, efficient washing machines do a great job at 30℃. There’s rarely a need to go to 60℃ – which can use 5x more energy. Washing on a lower heat is also better for fabrics. Try to avoid bleach in your detergents too to help protect your fabrics and the environment.
Did you know?
If you swap tumble drying for drying laundry on a washing line it can save 90kg of carbon per household per year!
- Re-dye natural fabrics to smarten up an old look.
- Find your local Repair Café and get help sewing and repairing your clothes. Horsham Repair Café is a great local resource, open the last Saturday of every month between 10am and 4pm at the United Reformed Church, 45 Springfield Road, Horsham, RH12 1PT and they can help repair not just clothes but many household items too. If you fancy learning how to fix it as well, their volunteers are happy to talk through what they are doing.
- And if you can't med your clothes any further we now collect any un-useable clothing, unwanted shoes, belts and handbags, sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers, towels, tea towels and curtains, so there's no need for these to go to waste. Find out about our free textile collection service. Your items will be sorted and graded by JMP Wilcox where the company is able to find a new life for over 98% of the clothing collected.
Do some brand research, even if it is just the brand website, to get a feel for how the company you are buying from run their business. If you can afford to, shop somewhere with good sustainable business practices.