When you decide to go through life in a more environmentally conscious fashion, a lot of things get complicated.
I am fortunate enough to currently live in a farm with well water, away from heavy traffic, etc. But that doesn’t mean I am “safe” from environmental issues. These past two years, my thoughts have been on the plastic in clothes.
Yeah, you read that right.
Many of our clothes are made from a form of plastic and when we wash them, tiny plastic particles go into our water system. This freaks me out. We drink this water. Animals live in this water. Some of us eat those animals. So in the end, we are filled with plastic as well.
I am a thrifter. If there is one thing I can think of that humans consume and throw away it’s clothes. The latest fashion trends dictate our lives more than we’d like to admit. If you can imagine the world one hundred years ago, people did not own as many clothes as we do now. More often, you would have made your own. But now, we go to a store to purchase clothes made overseas by an unknown face. We try not to think about what working conditions they were in or what the clothes are made of.
Well, I have been stuck between a rock and a hard place. Finding “quality” clothes in thrift stores can be difficult because so many of us consume fast fashion and donate it after we are tired of it. –I say all of this because I am guilty of it as well.
My closet is not 100% organic, nor is it 100% perfect materials. Most of my favorite shirts end up being 100% polyester. <Insert angry/disappointed in myself emoji.>
So I have been making an effort this past year to thrift clothes that are made of natural materials: wool, cotton (organic would be amazing, since cotton has so many chemicals dumped on it), silk, etc.
But honestly, I don’t really purchase a lot. So does one donate all the plastic clothes and just wear what they have left and spend tons of time seeking out the proper clothing materials? Or should one just continue with what they have, washing it only when needed?
About a year ago, I made a list of every clothing item I owned. Many times, family members will buy me clothes and they will sit in my closet because I only wear monochrome clothes. My aim is for a streamlined closet since I tend to love a more minimalist wardrobe. So since I owned so few clothing items, I was able to make a list of everything: shirts, socks, underwear, bras, sweaters, pants, etc. I would write the item down, note what it was made of, and count the number of things I had.
I was shocked. So many items were made of a type of plastic. I was so shocked I even calculated the percentage of natural clothing items versus plastic containing clothes.
Starting a wardrobe over would be crazy. I don’t have that kind of money and I don’t have a shop in town where I can buy all organic items. What I do, is keep a small list of items I would like and if a family member wants to purchase something for me, I’ll suggest a shirt or something. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever get to a sustainable, perfect wardrobe.
So there is major guilt associated. Thrifting is the best option because you are not contributing to the resources being used to make clothes. But, finding the right materials can be difficult depending on the area you live in.
So for now, I try to only wash plastic clothes when needed. And I also read tags in thrift stores. Many times, I have been shocked to find a shirt made of cotton, or sad that a beautiful top is pretty much a zip-lock.
A little more on pesticides: