As reports suggest, people throw away a total of 81 pounds of clothes each year which on average fills the American landfills alone with 11 million tons of clothes. And for anyone wondering, that’s a considerable amount with or without other considerations and counts. The same brings up questions of whether being conscious of everyday purchases, including what, how much, and where you buy them from, is enough or not?
Well, certainly purchasing sustainable clothing and refusing to contribute to the fashion industry, besides other approaches mentioned above, can significantly help reduce your carbon footprints, but there is more you can do. It is by valuing and making the most out of what you already own.
Upcycling is a creative transformation in which a used product becomes something of interest to the consumer. With some simple tips and tricks, you can easily enhance and repurpose old clothing and accessories and take advantage of the versatility of fabrics to the max. Plus point, the long life of an outfit can reduce the impact on the environment.
Below are some great ways to get started on the upcycling journey of your old clothes without taking the fun or sassiness out of them, so let’s get started.
Fabrics To Reusable Wipes And Tissues
Tissues and wipes find heavy usage in day to day lives of most people, so much so that a person who doesn’t already have it stocked for months at once would find themselves purchasing it at a supermarket each weekend. The habit of using a wipe or paper towel for something as simple as a spill in the kitchen or for tending to someone with a cold often prevents sustainability issues from even crossing one’s mind.
But you can change that, or literally speaking, the old t-shirt that you do not like very much can! Old fabrics, especially cotton, are an ideal, sustainable, durable, easy to use and clean, cost-effective, and efficient replacement to consider.
Reusable Grocery Bags With Tees
How often are you purchasing something at a grocery store, and it suddenly strikes you that using a plastic bag for carrying the items home is not environmentally friendly? Still, the store only has plastic bags, so you do not have any other options. Even if you are lucky enough to spot or pay for a paper or cloth bag to carry back the items, it again raises the issue of sustainability.
Upcycling your old tees to make your personalized grocery shopping bag in such cases will have two benefits – first, it will be a sustainable choice made with fabric that you own with no additional costs of purchase or loss with wear and tear. Secondly, since it is a tote bag that you’ve made, there are high chances you will not forget carrying it when leaving the house for grocery shopping. With several places banning single-use plastic bags, it is an even more appropriate time to be vocal about the choices you make and inspire others to do the same.
Makeup Removing Pads From Your Old Cotton Shirts
Makeup is expensive as it is, does removing it too need to be as costly? What’s more, unless you are particularly cautious of your makeup brands and their sustainable and ethical practices, chances are your makeup is not exactly environmentally friendly too. Well, the very least you can do here is to make sure to go all green by switching to reusable cotton makeup removing pads from the single-use ones.
Unlike what it may seem, making cotton makeup removing pads is a simple process – simply cut squares, or rounds if you prefer, from your old cotton shirt and sew two of them together along the outer edge. Since it will only be needed to wipe off the makeup, you do not need to be skilled or precise with your techniques; just make it so that it can withstand a cleaning round in the washing machine. You can alternatively also refer to a video tutorial for the same.
Headbands From Stretchable T-Shirts
Who doesn’t love some cute little accessories, especially if it is a headband? Well, do not turn to the market for purchasing them anymore, instead just your closet, which most certainly has at least one t-shirt that is too stretched and old for you to wear again. It’s even better if the pattern or fabric of the cloth is what’s keeping you from tossing it away for good.
There are tons of online tutorials with a step-by-step guide on transforming these t-shirts into headbands with multiple design options to pick from. And, if you are not exactly the type who loves head accessories, you can just put this effort as a summer gift for your kids, a girl that you know, a neighbor, or more. And, in the process, you will learn art skills and get some good space in the wardrobe without feeling guilty about it.
Like headbands, you can also turn these t-shirts into several other useful items such as a wallet, a tank top, etc., as per your liking.
Reusable Food Wraps From Old Clothes
If you haven’t already, it is time that you spare a glance at the old clothing that sits and awaits its turn out of that closet. Well, the old clothes wouldn’t mind, even if it’s as a food wrap. Moreover, you get to say goodbye to the market-bought and unsustainable plastic or foil wraps.
However, a little simple method needs to be followed to make the cloth ideal for food wrapping. You may begin with cutting the cloth in small food wraps of shapes and sizes as per your needs. It follows melting some beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax in a measuring cup set in a pan alongside pine resin and jojoba oil. Once melted, using a dedicated paintbrush, apply this mixture evenly onto the piece of fabric and let it hang dry in a cool and dark place. You can also refer to an exact step-by-step recipe online.
Though you may easily find beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax at a pharmacy or local grocery store, vegan options for the same are also available that will do the job just fine.
Swap Your Clothes
If you’ve never shared or swapped clothes with your family members or friends, you are missing out on a lot of fun and great outfits that will probably otherwise end up in a landfill.
Setting up a meetup with friends, family, and even neighbors (if you have good ones) for swapping clothes, from sweaters to leggings, pants, and anything that is still wearable but too boring for them, is an excellent way to upcycle old garments. Not to mention how it requires little to no sewing or additional efforts to create something new while helping you save all that money.
Sustainability is the only way ahead, and there is very little to argue against it. However, while the topic is quite talked-about amid other aspects of life such as fuel, energy, plastic items, etc., the clothes and fashion industry are often overlooked for the damage they create. And, as apparent as it is, the time to take action is now!
No matter your preferred style or choice of clothes, there is always a possibility to upcycle if not swap them to make something of value again, so make each purchase count.