Throwaway Culture – Hiding Big Ben Under Discarded Clothes In 76 Seconds

Aidan Russell

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Have you become more aware of the throwaway culture and its negative effects?

Has your choice for fashion been a little different in recent weeks? We hope so.

These times of global crisis and social isolation have spurred a shift in priorities, forcing us to reflect on how our actions can contribute to global societal positive change.

One thing we can all learn from this crisis is that every action we take has an impact.

That’s true for our fashion choices, too.

While we are all looking forward to returning to our daily routines, there’s hope it’ll happen with increased sustainable living habits.

That could curb our environmental impact.

Tower Textile Waste: Throwaway Culture in Fashion

The environmental message isn’t new:

The world’s natural resources are under huge strain from overproduction, pollution, and waste.

The fashion industry is no exception to this.

Textile manufacturing is a massive contributor to wold pollution.

Especially now, that fast fashion has become market prevalent, the turnaround from production to landfill is faster than ever.

The throwaway culture of disposable fashion is not only using up precious resources.

But it is also creating considerable unnecessary waste.

The Ellen Macarthur Foundation has reported that if the throwaway culture continues, over 150 million tonnes of clothing waste will clog landfills by 2050!

To help put these numbers into perspective, creative content agency NeoMam Studios has created a video reflecting how many clothes it would take to fill up a series of iconic monuments and landmarks around the world.

The researchers used government data where possible to determine the volume of the structures, and calculated how long it would take to fill them up with textile waste.

With the average consumer throwing away 60 per cent of their new clothes after just one year, it would take only 76 seconds to fill up Big Ben, and 6 hours to fill the Colosseum in Rome by textile waste.

Have a look at the video below:

Triggering a Shift in Fashion Buying Habits

The good news is, that the message is starting to hit home.

People are becoming more aware of the throwaway culture and its negative effects on how they think about their own purchases and resulting environmental impact.

NeoMam fashion waste research

Also, NeoMam surveyed consumers about their clothes-buying habits, and the results were hopeful:

  • Many poll participants (93%) are now choosing to shop for new clothes less often, with 63% opting to replace damaged or old clothes rather than accumulating more and more.
  • Respondents are aware of the benefits of recycling, with almost 80% donating to charity shops, etc.
  • The majority still prefer new clothes for themselves, with only 31% shopping for second-hand clothes or in charity shops.

Attitudes are slowly changing and yet, as a consumer of fashion, take this time to reflect on your choices and what you can do to have a positive impact.

Making Your Wardrobe Kinder To The Planet

Since our lifestyles are in a constant state of transition, finding practical and straightforward ways to create positive change towards sustainable fashion is not easy.

However, there are plenty of ways to shift away from the throwaway culture, some more efficient than others.

Here are seven tips which we feel it’ll help you get started:

Donate old clothes

Your unwanted clothes may still have a lot of life in them.

Pass them on to a charity shop, a friend, or a clothes bank, so you do not contribute further to the throwaway culture.

Shop second hand

You can find beautiful pre-loved treasures to refresh your wardrobe in second-hand stores.

Why wear the same mass-produced thing as everyone else, when you can extend the life of a unique bargain find?

Buy high-quality garments

Cheap fashion is a false economy because you end up buying lower quality more often.

Moreover, you’ll be producing more waste in the process.

Spend more on garments and accessories from slow fashion labels.

Something that will last longer, and it will cost you (and the planet) less in the long term.

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Choose sustainable fabrics

Consider biodegradable natural fibres such as bamboo.

Avoid synthetic fabrics (such as PVC), known to releases harmful microfibres into the ecosystem.

Upcycle what you can

When clothes are beyond wear, the fabric itself might still find a new lease of life.

Upcycling is a huge fashion trend now.

Get creative making new clothes, cushions, tote bags, etc.

Recycle the rest

If there is no further use for your clothing, don’t just throw it in the general waste.

Many fabrics can be professionally upcycled for different uses.

Do a quick search online, some of these professionals will collect from your home, for free.

Re-sell unwanted clothes

Make a little cash by keeping nice quality clothing in circulation.

Selling old clothes is an excellent way to extend their lifetime and reduce the demand for new textile production.

You Can Make A Difference!

Hopefully, the video in this article has helped you see the negative aspect of the throwaway culture and its extent.

This is what would happen if we don’t change our approach to fashion consumption soon.

If each of us takes responsibility for our environmental impact, we can prevent those towers of textile waste from building up.

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A decade of fashion; here’s to the next one.

The past decade has been turbulent – and defining – for fashion: child labour, climate crisis, gender inequality, animal cruelty, and reckless plastic pollution, just to name a few.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the beginning of this decade does not look too good either.

That’s why finding media that reports with rigour and integrity at heart is difficult in critical times.

Finding media that informs all, regardless of where they live or if they can afford to pay, is even harder.

In these times, independent fashion media magazines are increasingly silenced by commercial ownership and social media misinformation.

So far, your unceasing support has allowed us to keep delivering trustworthy, relevant, high-quality content.

Your support allowed us to uphold our editorial independence and ensure honest journalism, free from commercial ownership or political bias.

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