September is my favourite month of the year as it is my birthday month – yes that’s right I pace out my celebrations to span over the whole month (it suits me that way due to needing to pace for chronic illness reasons, but really I don’t even need an excuse to be more than happy to stretch out the fun!) However, this year I have something else I’m doing this month and that is ‘SECOND HAND SEPTEMBER’! Which means I have pledged to say no to buying any new clothes for the 30 days of September and just buy second hand ones instead. “Why?” you may ask, so let me fill you in, on the problem of clothes landfill… (like what I did there? I love a play on words me 😉 heehee)
Did you know that the UK has more brand new clothes brought every minute than any other country in Europe? Each minute TWO TONNES of clothing are brought in the UK!
#SecondHandSeptember is an Oxfam initiative to only buy second hand clothes in September, to try and make fashion more sustainable and for ‘fast fashion’ to have less of an impact on the environment and for us to have an impact on the landfills by us reusing and not throwing away, and buying second hand not brand new. Let me share with you their explanation of their reasons why this is an important part of our ‘buying’ culture, that we need to pay attention to & how we can help reduce fashions carbon footprint:
The effects of ‘Fast Fashion’ and ‘Throwaway Fashion’ on the environment:
‘Throwaway Fashion’ or ‘Fast Fashion’ have been buzz words used a lot in the media lately and that is because people are becoming more aware of the impact thrown away clothes are having on bursting landfills of garments, our environment and in some cases the bad conditions some of the workers making these clothes go through on a daily basis.
In one month alone, the carbon footprint of new clothes bought in the UK was greater than flying a plane around the world 900 times!
Reading the statistic above, you know that by not buying any new clothes for 30 days will indeed have an effect not only on our personal carbon foot print but also help decrease the carbon emissions of our nation. This awareness is important as it is spreading the need for us ALL to be conscious of our new clothes buying habits, our attitudes towards second hand clothes shopping and conscious of how we discard of clothes we do not want anymore too!
You can read more of Oxfam’s shocking and revealing research statistics of the effect of ‘fast fashion’, on their website or by clicking HERE.
How you can help support ‘Sustainable Fashion’
I was brought up going into charity shops as my Parents both were happy charity shop buyers as well as donating items to charity shops too. It was such a normal thing to me that it didn’t occur to me that in my later teenage years I would instead learn the stereotypes and prejudices held by some about shopping in charity shops. To me it was normal, but I discovered some looked down on you for it or teased you that you were poor etc or a tramp for wearing other peoples clothes. This was so alien to me as being the third child I grew up on hand me downs from my older sister and brother.
There is such a childish backdrop to these perceptions – like people don’t wash the clothes before they wear them, like the brand new clothes you buy in a shop haven’t already been tried on by numerous people, like less hands have been on brand new clothes than second hand even though in the making process the clothes themselves may not be produced in the cleanest of factories anyway. There is nothing ‘dirty’ about charity shop’s, they always look cleaner to me than my local Primark that looks like a jumble sale some days with clothes and dirt on the floors etc.
Getting rid of unwanted clothes responsibly and with sustainability
Yet, it isn’t just us addressing the clothes we buy that is important here, but also addressing the clothes we throw away and just how we get get rid of them. Again not throwing clothes away and passing them on to family and friends or a charity shop were the only options I knew when I was growing up. It baffles me that anyone would want to throw something usable away in the rubbish to go to landfill than to be reused again by someone else and make money for a good cause charity along the way.
How to donate your clothes instead of sending to landfill in your household rubbish:
Donating clothes and items to your local charity shops couldn’t be easier. Some charity shops even do home collections for those who may say they are too busy to drop bags off at a charity shop, just look at the charity websites for details or ring the charity shop up. British Heart Foundation even do a home collection for furniture too. Also check with your local council as they also offer many recycling and collection services which may include a ‘textiles collection’.
www.recyclenow.com is a great website for finding out all about recycling options and ways to get rid of unwanted items wherever you are in England.
Even unwearable clothes due to being torn or stained etc can be discarded responsibly rather than just throwing away in household rubbish heading to landfill sites around the world. There are ‘clothes banks‘ just like there are shoe banks, bottle banks, etc dotted around the UK – some are at the side of the road, some are in car parks or at supermarkets. Do some research online, search google maps or have a drive around to find your closest clothes bank.
Upcycling using unwanted clothes and pieces of material to make new things:
You can also use the unwanted material to make other items: stuffing for items, shoulder pads, extra bra padding, reusable material sanitary towels, wash clothes, rags for cleaning around your home, tea towels, clothes to use instead of kitchen roll, a headband, clothing for a doll or children’s toy, etc. There are so many ideas online, tutorials on youtube and blog posts full of step by step guides and ideas. I have a ‘DIY & Creative Imaginative Ideas‘ board on Pinterest you are welcome to follow:
How you can get involved with ‘Second-Hand September’ to help decrease fashions carbon footprint & raise awareness for ‘Sustainable Fashion’
Maybe this is something you have never thought of and this ‘Second Hand September’ pledge is something that you could try now you are more aware of the effects of your choices when it comes to new and unwanted clothes? As Oxfam point out “the global textile industry is producing more greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and shipping combined – it could be a more important change than we think.” So don’t underestimate the effect you could have by taking part, raising awareness and inviting others to join you too.
When you sign up to the pledge you can choose to opt in for Oxfam to email you second hand shopping tips, items being sold by Oxfam and other golden nuggets of information to help support you doing this #SecondHandSeptember challenge. Here is the Oxfam pledge sign up page: https://oxfamapps.org/secondhandseptember/
You can also help spread awareness by sharing your second hand purchases online and be entered into a prize draw for doing so! See details below:
Here’s a photo I shared on my Instagram of the second hand jacket I wore when meeting up with friends for an early birthday celebration this weekend: