According to Recyc-Québec, each person throws 24 kg of clothing per year. Stacked, these 190,000 tons of tissue would form a mountain of 55 meters in height, this corresponds to an 18 floor building! “Less than 40% of the Quebec textile is recovered by Recyc-Québec. It is urgent to act and to empower consumers,” says Luce Beaulieu, coordinator at the Institut de l’environnement, du développement durable et de l’économie circulaire (EDDEC).
In response to “fast fashion”, expert in textile innovation and environmentally responsible consumption, which includes Ms. Beaulieu, decided to tackle each in their own way local textile deposits. Met on October 19 during a round table on the circular economy in the textile industry, participants argued that there is the need to upgrade the “waste” generated from the ready-to-wear and encourage the concept of responsibility for everyone. “On the consumer side, it is vital they start making more responsible social and environmental choices, says Ms. Beaulieu. As for organizations, the ideal would be to transform the business models so that all players in the textile industry further promote circular economy.”
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Aware that the model “Nothing is lost, nothing is created” is not yet a widespread trend in the fashion world, this ex-ecodesigner lists different levels of action in particular through the 3 R-V approach, which invites to reduce, reuse, recycle and give valorisation in order to minimize the amount of clothes that end up in landfills.
“Basically, we should avoid creating ephemeral clothes, that is to say, which become obsolete or deteriorate rapidly,” she noted during the interview. But consumers also have a responsibility to reduce their consumption at the source. Luce Beaulieu offers other options for the purchase of new clothing. The exchange between friends, buying used clothes and renting branded items, a trend increasingly popular in Europe and the United States among fashionistas, are all good substitutes to overconsumption she said. “The first question to ask is:” Do I really need a new dress? “If so, is it possible to borrow or buy it used at a thrift store? When the garment is worn or we get tired of wearing it, is it possible to give it a second life? One can for example give it to someone around us or to a charity. Or turn it into sewing equipment. The idea is to keep the item in good use as long as possible and to push as much as possible its ultimate end of life. ”
If we have to buy new clothes, the coordinator of the EDDEC Institute recommends opting for an eco-socio-responsible approach for product quality. That is to say a garment made from natural and organic materials manufactured in a country known for its environmental and social standards. Buying local is also preferred. Another trick? Choose classic clothes that you do not have to replace after only a few months because they are stale or outdated. “A garment more eco-socio-responsible is a garment that lasts a long time!” Launches Luce Beaulieu, which gives preference to the parts manufactured in the country by Quebec and Canadian designers.
To reduce the environmental and social footprints of our consumption, it is also important to maintain our dresses, pants and jerseys, said Ms. Beaulieu. “Many people wash their clothes in the water too hot after only having worn only once and they often use too much detergent, she says. The use of a biodegradable detergent sparingly and washing in cold water can reduce our environmental impact.”
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