Textile waste: A primer

Did you know that the average Canadian purchases an average of 70 new articles of clothing per year? That’s a huge amount of material and human resources dedicated to growing materials, production and shipping. Clothes and other fabrics can also be confusing to recycle at the end of their life – but there are tons of inspiring alternatives to the landfill.

Infographic - textile waste in Nova Scotia
The quality of our clothing has rapidly diminished over the years; items are no longer designed to last and clothing waste is at an all-time high. The majority of unwanted clothing, footwear, and other textiles end up in landfills, where they release harmful greenhouse gases as they degrade. However, textiles are nearly 100% recyclable. Check out this infographic to learn more about this important issue in Nova Scotia.
Closet clean-out decision tree infographic
Clothing, footwear, and other textiles make up 12% of the waste stream in Nova Scotia – that’s one large garbage bag thrown out per person per year. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Reduce your clothing consumption, buy for durability, repair those salvageable items, tailor the ones that no longer fit, pass along unwanted items to family and friends, explore consignment and other second-hand stores in your area, and donate the rest! Visit www.afterwear.ca to find a nearby drop-off location for your unwanted clothing, including ripped, stained, and scrap textiles. Give your old wardrobe new life this spring!
Infographic - what happens when you buy second-hand clothing instead of new?
Ever wonder about the benefits from shopping second-hand vs. buying new? Our impact on the planet is reduced in so many ways when we use the clothing that’s already in circulation instead of adding new items to the mix. The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world and demand for new clothing has quadrupled since 1975. These days, Canadians buy 70 new articles of clothing a year. If your wardrobe needs a bit of sprucing up, consider exploring thrift, vintage, or other second-hand options in your community. This infographic shows how we can contribute by giving used clothing new life!
Stained ripped or shredded textiles can still be reused or recycled
There is no need to decide whether your clothing and other textiles are “good enough” for the bins. If it is clean, dry, and unsoiled by hazardous material like oil or grease, then there is a use for them. Note that some collection points have their own restrictions on acceptable donation items, visit www.afterwear.ca for more information and to find a nearby drop-off location that most suits your needs. Don’t discriminate, donate!

Our fix-it community includes sewers, tailors, quilters, weavers, upcyclers, upholsterers and more – look for ideas and more information about reducing textile waste, coming soon! We’d love to hear more about your ideas and projects, too – comment below!

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