Every year an estimated 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK. There is absolutely no need for any clothing or textiles to make its way into a bin and this is both a significant environmental loss and a missed business opportunity.
Love Your Clothes was launched in 2014 to address this issue and help inspire and influence consumers to make small conscious changes to reduce the impact of clothes on the environment.
It aims to improve the sustainability of clothing across its life-cycle, and influencing consumer behaviour is a major part of that. Why? Because the most significant opportunity for reducing the environmental impact of clothing lies in increasing the active life of the clothes we wear.
Currently, over 5% of the UK’s total annual carbon and water footprints result from clothing consumption. But if clothes stayed in active use for nine months longer (extending their average life to around three years), this would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%. Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction.
In the average UK household, nearly a third of clothes (worth over £1,000 per household, £30 billion in total) haven’t been worn in the last year. There is huge potential for consumers to get more from what they already have.
Love Your Clothes helps raise awareness that we can all make a huge difference by taking small steps. We all need to think ‘do I need it’ before we buy, to be better informed when we purchase clothing, to choose pre-owned options more frequently, to learn long lost repair and fixing skills, to get creative with clothing and to share and donate unwanted clothing. Last but not least of course to keep all clothing and textiles out of the bin.