Managing waste wisely

Slowing the flight of fast fashion

When a t-shirt costs the same as a sandwich, it’s easy to lose sight of its true value. But our clothes are not disposable – the labour, water and energy used to produce them makes each and every garment a valuable piece in its own right.

The rise of fast and ultra-fast fashion – clothing produced cheaply and at whirlwind speed to feed the endless cycle of micro-trends and must-haves – is having significant environmental consequences.

“On average, each Australian is reported to buy around 56 new items of clothing every year,” says CEO of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council Stuart Devenish.

“We’re buying more and more, and as a result we’re throwing away more, and it’s creating an expensive, long-term waste problem that we’ll all have to deal with down the line. It is estimated that Australians send 6,000 tonnes of textiles to landfill every 10 minutes.”

The WMRC is addressing this growing issue with its Re(Love) Your Stuff campaign, funded by the state government’s WasteSorted Grants program.

It consists of a series of clothing swaps, workshops, resources and school incursions that will raise awareness of the alternatives to buying new fast fashion.

And there are lots of alternatives – from swapping and op-shopping to repairing and reselling. Even buying locally-made, quality pieces that are designed to last is a good step up from cheap but unsustainable fast fashion items that can barely survive a couple of wears.

“Re(Love) Your Stuff aims to remind people of the true value of every piece of clothing. These items are worth looking after,” says Stuart.

“We’re excited to be creating something that everyone can be a part of. Whether or not you care about fashion, we all wear clothes and textile waste affects all of us.”

The event season will culminate in the ‘Textile Trail’ on 5-6 October, a weekend of low-waste fashion events in the heart of Subiaco and Claremont. Visit Re(Love) Your Stuff for details.

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