Earth-Friendly Fashion Guide: 14 Ways to Green Your Style | Earth Day Network

By Stef McDonald

How we shop and care for our clothing is one of many ways we can we can reduce our carbon footprints and protect our water sources, the earth, and the public health. Here are some tips on being an environmentally-friendly fashionista.

Shop locally. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll reduce carbon emissions. Bonus: you’ll support your local economy.

Choose fabrics wisely.

  • Buy clothing made with organic fabrics when you can. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll play a small part in reducing pesticide use and keeping the earth and our water sources clean.
  • Buy clothing made with natural fabric fibers instead of synthetic fabrics. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll reduce the amount of microplastics in our water sources that come from synthetic fibers that shed during washes.

Support sustainable brands. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll be taking business away from polluting companies in favor of ones who care about people and the planet.

Think before trashing.

  • One person’s trash is another’s treasure tip #1: Donate unwanted clothing to thrift stores or local shelters instead of throwing them out. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll divert waste from landfills. Bonus: you’ll support your local community.
  • One person’s trash is another’s treasure tip #2: Host a clothing swap with friends. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll divert waste from landfills. Bonus: it’s fun!
  • One person’s trash is another’s treasure top #3: Sell your clothing on eBay or another resale shop. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll divert waste from landfills. Bonus: you’ll earn money.

Wash and dry wisely.

  • Wash clothing only when necessary (many items can be worn multiple times before they need to be washed). Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll save water and energy.
  • Think twice about dry-cleaning. If it’s necessary to dry-clean your clothing, chose a dry cleaner that uses environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions and bring your own reusable bag return your hangers. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll play a small part in keeping toxins from our environment and reduce plastic pollution.
  • Hang clothes to dry outdoors on a clothing line or a drying rack (or on a drying rack in the bathtub). Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll save energy. (Bonus: there’s less wear-and-tear on your clothing.)
  • Use laundry detergent without harmful, petrochemicals (petroleum-derived). Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll play a small part in reducing toxins from entering our water and environment and reduce your carbon footprint.

Reuse and repurpose worn or unwanted clothing.

  • Use old t-shirts and other worn items as rags. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll divert waste from landfills and save paper.
  • Upcycle clothing. You can work wonders with a pair of scissors and a needle and thread and give new life to an old garment. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll divert waste from landfills.

Shop secondhand first. Buy pre-owned clothing from thrift shops, consignment shops, vintage sources and online resale shops, from eBay and Etsy to ThredUp and Tradesy. Earth-friendly benefit: you’ll keep clothing out of landfills and play a small part in reducing the over-production of new merchandise.