Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sustainable September 2017 - Day Twenty Nine



Making life a little kinder for our planet and all those who live here.

Welcome back to the last week of Sustainable September. This week is all about Fashion and Beauty.

It is simple the less we consume and the more we wear the clothes we already have the more environmentally friendly they become. However, there are times that it is impossible to keep clothes. They don't fit, they are unflattering, they are out of fashion, they are stained or ripped, they are thoroughly warn out.

Sustainable September Day Twenty Nine: Dejunk your excess.

This may seem a little strange to talk about Dejunking now after talking about waste this last 28 days. However consuming less and owning less is a massive part of reducing your environmental foot print. So I am here to talk about responsible dejunking and recycling.
If you are going to be creating a a capsule wardrobe (check out the last two days worth of blog posts for more information) it often involves getting rid of lots of clothes that no longer fit, aren't your style and are are stained or broken. Even though I will be talking about this in terms of clothing, some of these ideas apply to all the things you are getting rid of. 
Yesterday you would have started going through your wardrobe and putting aside the things that don't fit, are broken or stained, are too big, too small and aren't your personal style. Instead of just chucking all this in a bag and dumping it in landfill, I want you to look at what you have. 

DONATE: The things that are too big and small and aren't your personal style can be donated to a local thrift store, asuming they are in good enough condition to be sold exactly as they are (anything else is not going to be resold). You could also resell them yourself if you want to (to earn some extra cash). This means that anything with stains or breaks must not be taken to a thrift store, it is the same thing as throwing it in landfill because ultimately that is where it will be sent. 

First lets talk about REDUCING what you going to be sending to landfill. After all your resellable stuff is donated or resold you can then move on to the next group of things. The ones that are broken.

BROKEN: If they are broken, see if they can be mended. If they can be mended, can you rewear them? If you can rewear them, do they fit? are they stylish enough? do they go with more than one thing in your Capsule Wardrobe? The best thing you can do is repair them even though they no longer fit you, your style and dont match anything in your wardrobe. Then they can be sold or donated. I did this with a pair of shoes I owned at the beginning of the year. They were ones that i had worn to be bridesmaid at my best friends wedding, but i rarely wore them. The only times i did wear them, the straps broke on them. The straps pulled out of underneath the sole of the shoe. So I went to a cobbler and had them repaired. It cost me $10 to have 2 shoes fixed but then I was able to donate them as they were going to be useable/saleable for a charity thrift shop. It might seem silly to have something fixed to then give them away, but they were good shoes and I knew they would come in handy to someone sometime in the future.

Is something ripped or stained so badly that it can't be donated? Is it so bad it can't be fixed?  Then there are two options 1) Upcycle it into something that will be useful. 2) Rip it up and use it as rags.

I have done both of these.

UPCYCLING: For the first one I turned an old Flannelette t-shirt into a bunch of different things. Hand warmers, gift bags, a BBQ apron and more. I even had someone love the Apron so much they bought it off me and someone else loved it so much they commissioned me to make another one in Red! :) 

RAGS: Then there is those clothes that are stained so much that they can become nothing but rags. I had an old t-shirt that was so badly stained and holey that it would have ended up in landfill if I had decided to take it to an op-shop. Thankfully it was a cotton t-shirt so it could be ripped up fairly easily and then used as rags. I use it now in the shed for all kinds of things. From wiping up the paint from my projects to dusting, to using it for checking the oil guage in the car. I didn't realise how many tissues/papertowels I used that have been saved because I reused my own rubbish and turned my old clothes into scraps. I turned my old university t-shirts and promotional-shirts (one off t-shirts that no-one would buy from a thrift shop) into rags and now they have a use and have not ended up in landfill. I have been able to wash these rags over and over again. They are mostly made of cotton so they can be thrown into my compost once they are well beyond washing.

FANCY DRESSES: I have a bag of dresses at home that are waiting to go to a new home. And i have a plan for them rather than sending them to an opshop. There is a school not too far away from me that is looking for pretty dresses. They loan the dresses students whose families cant afford to purchase ones for school dances or School Balls. Everytime i find a fancy dress (in an Opshop) or I grow out of one of the ones id worn in the past, or ones my friends is getting rid of some of their fancy dresses, I put them aside ready to take to this school. There may be something like this in an area near you.

Those of you who want to donate your wedding dresses can either resell them, donate them to charity or even donate them to a cause where they will be Upcycled. What i am talking about when i say Upcycled is turning these dresses into Angel Gowns. "
"Angel Gowns Australia Incorporated ...provides services to bereaved families who have suffered the unimaginable stillbirth or death of their baby, families who are or have gone through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or families who are impacted on by a child's life-limiting illness or special needs.From donated wedding dresses we lovingly hand craft Angel Gown garments which are then donated to hospitals, funeral homes and directly to families through special orders.
To bring a ray of sunshine into special children's lives we use the left over tulle from wedding dresses and transform it in to the most beautiful Tutus, which we also donate to hospitals and other children's charities all around Australia
Currently they have an over-supply of wedding dresses. They will be taking more dresses in the future, when they are work their way through their current supply. So donating your wedding dress to this cause would mean that you would have to hold on to it (in Australia at least). 
I am sure there are a lot of other things that you can do with your old clothes!
TOWELS, SHEETS & BLANKETS: If you want to donate old towels, blankets and sheets you can donate them to homeless shelters and pet shelters. The worse condition they are in the better they are for animals and less for human use. Donating these items can be a huge kindness particularly in winter times and when blankets and sheets are needed to keep people and animals warm. 
I hope this helps you with your donating and recycling of old clothes and fabrics. 
With Love,
Daena x

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