Okay, ‘clothing footprint’ is an awkward term, but it’s a useful catch-all for the land, water, chemicals, resources and emissions embodied in our clothing. It includes growing the fibres, manufacturing the garment, washing it, and then finally disposing it.
WRAP has just released the results of its rummage around laundry basket, and here are ten facts about clothing, water and waste:
- The average Briton owns £4,000 worth of clothes
- 30% of the clothes in our wardrobes haven’t been worn in the last year.
- We spend an average of £1,700 on clothes every year, and £130 on washing them.
- 350,000 tonnes of clothing goes into landfill in Britain every year.
- Those clothes would be worth £140 million if sold on rather than binned.
- Half of the population admits to throwing clothes in the bin.
- Two thirds of us wear second hand clothes.
- 57% of shoppers say they consider durability and quality of the clothes they buy, while only 21% say they consider fashion trends.
- Producing and washing clothes makes up 5% of Britain’s carbon and water footprint.
- The carbon footprint of a British household’s clothing for the year is equivalent to driving 6,000 miles in a car.
What can we do to reduce our clothing footprint? Buy good quality clothes, keep them longer, wash them slightly less often, dry them outside and recycle them when they’re worn out. We can also buy secondhand, and give away or swap things we don’t wear any more rather than dump them.