We all love shopping. It is one of the greatest weakness, especially for us – girls. While trying to attempt to live this zero-waste lifestyle, the temptation from shopping for clothes is especially great. From receiving emails from various shops about their sales to seeing brand new styles at shopping centres, the struggle is real. So, how then do we prevent textile waste when faced with such great temptations? Here are some tips from our personal experience of sustainable shopping!
Know WHY NOT
You might regard it as only one pair of jeans. But did you know, it takes about 8,000 litres of water just to make one pair? That’s enough to fill almost 20 bathtubs! Not to mention, the cotton used to make jeans uses 2.4% of the world’s cropland and 24% of the world’s pesticide. How scary is that!
In Singapore, more than 156,000 tonnes of textile and leather waste was thrown away in 2016, but only a mere 8% of such waste is recycled. Based on a Channel NewsAsia documentary, Singaporeans buy about 34 pieces of brand new apparel per year, with almost half of them citing discounts as the main driver for doing so. And on average, they discard 27 items of clothing per year, citing reasons like “making space for new clothes”, “no longer fits” and “there are defects”.
To prevent yourself from contributing to unnecessary waste, you need to be equipped with the knowledge and be aware of how buying one piece of clothing can have a huge impact on the environment. It helps you to see how one little action can have a big impact!
So, always think twice before buying that piece of clothing that you thought was harmless!
Make a plan
To slowly reduce the amount of textile waste you are creating, it is not something that happens overnight. It is a step by step process and you first have to acknowledge that it will be a painful and difficult process. Making a plan is crucial and it doesn’t matter whether it will take months or years to achieve the goal. As long as you have a plan, it is better than nothing!
First of all, you need to track the amount of clothing you buy every month. By doing this, you will be aware of your consumption habit and it will be easier to monitor your reduction. Then, start setting a limit on the number of clothing you can purchase every month. One tip is before buying a new piece of clothing, evaluate if you have any similar pieces of clothing in your current wardrobe or if it is possible to borrow a similar top from your mother or sister. If it is a “yes”, then put that piece of clothing away!
It is also important to ensure that you practice self-control and stay away from any possible temptation. When you are able to make small progress towards working the final goal of eliminating your textile waste, be sure to reward yourself (with food)! We know it isn’t easy and by rewarding yourself, it serves as a form of encouragement to continue working towards the end goal.
This might be the most difficult aspect as we are most likely being tempted from every corner of our lives. Our best practice is out of sight, out of mind. So, whenever there is a possible temptation, try to distance yourself from it and rationalise internally if it is a need or a want(Trust us, most of the time it will be a want.). It is also a good habit to constantly remind yourself of the long-term effects of a small act of purchasing a new top. It might seem trivial, but if you consider all the resources taken to make a single piece of clothing, it will definitely make you reconsider.
Set A Budget
We know it is hard to eliminate shopping completely within a day. So, the second best option is to set a budget on the amount you will spend on shopping. By setting a budget, you not only manage your spending better, but you will tend to splurge less. When you see clothing at shopping mall, you will not be tempted to buy. In addition, you will be limiting the number of clothing you can purchase every month. Giving yourself less purchasing power, in turn, allows you to make conscious choices when purchasing your clothes.
For example, if you set aside $100 a month to buy new clothes, you will most likely spend the $100 more fruitfully. Instead of simply buying cheap and possibly unethical or unsustainable clothing, you will purchase clothes that are either second hand (if you want a lot of clothes) or clothing that are more expensive, but sustainably made and durable. Hence, setting a budget when making a plan is indeed a simple way to manage your spending and prevent you from overconsuming or overspending. Sustainable shopping!
If you really have the urge to shop and cannot stop yourself, why not try second-hand shopping? It helps you save money, save resources, start sustainable shopping and be a better person. So, why not!
Our favourite is Refash, an exclusive online marketplace for women to buy and sell “like new” fashion. Members can list items straight from their wardrobes and shop up to 70% off their favourite fast fashion and luxury brands. It has many popular brands such as Love Bonito, Forever21, The Closet Lover, Forever New and a lot more. So, you no longer have to worry about having the same old few pieces of clothes in your wardrobe! You can visit them when you want to try out sustainable shopping!