WRAP up this winter: Valuing our clothes

WRAP: Valuing our Clothes

It’s December which means one thing… shopping.   And the UK is a nation that knows how to shop, regardless of the season.  But…did you know:

  • the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – and around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year;
  • the cost of this unused clothing is around £30 billion;
  • extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints; and
  • an estimated £140 million worth (around 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.

It’s a thought, isn’t it?

WRAP, the UK organisation which helps businesses and individuals reduce waste, develop sustainable products and use resources in an efficient way,  highlights the true cost of how we design, use and dispose of clothing in their report “Valuing our Clothes“.

If we could only make more use of our clothes, through alteration, repair and recycling, we could save pennies as well as helping the environment.  And, if we increased the use of our clothes by just nine months, we could reduce our water, carbon and waste impacts by between 20%-30%.


Marks and Spencer’s Change the World: SHWOP campaign

What can we do? LOTS!

If, like myself, you have a jam-packed wardrobe,  you can take all those fashion faux-pas and once worn wonders to charity shops, sell them on eBay or donate to Freecycle.   You could hold a swishing party or go shwopping. Or if you’re feeling adventurous you could customize your old clothes to give them a new lease of life.

To confirm my status as crazy cat lady, a lot of my old clothing has ended up being used for cat beds and toys.  If you put your mind to it, there’s no end to what you can do with those old bits and pieces.

So, before you buy yourself that new outfit for the New Year, give a thought to what you could do help your wardrobe, your bank balance and the environment.


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