Are you ready to part ways with that old t-shirt from college or that impulse buy you bought on sale but will never wear again? Think twice before you throw them in the trash.
North Americans send over 26 million pounds of clothing to landfills each year, 95 per cent of which could be recycled. In 2016, more than 7,625 shoes and items of clothing were picked up as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
Although clothes may seem harmless, they can create unwanted consequences for our oceans. For example, researchers have recently discovered a shocking amount of tiny fibres of plastic (microfibres) in our ocean. These fibres are coming from synthetic clothing and other textiles, and are usually released during the washing cycle.
Clothes that are not properly recycled will also release microfibres as they break down in landfills or on our shorelines. Marine wildlife can ingest these mircrofibres and damage their digestive systems. Worst of all, microfibres can work their way through the food chain to our dinner table in that delicious bowl of steamed shellfish.
Here are three things you can do to keep your old clothes from harming the environment:
- Donate your clothes to those in need.
- Recycle your clothes by bringing them to a proper clothing recycling bin.
- Get creative and repurpose clothes. Try turning a t-shirt into a reusable tote bag or cropping your jeans into frayed shorts.
- Lead or join a shoreline cleanup to prevent clothing and other litter from entering our waterways.
Clothing trends come and go, but healthy waterways will always be in style.
SOURCE: News Canada