Green Corner: Why can’t going green be a fashion statement too?

In a world of immediacy such as the one we live in today, many things become temporary. While it can be great to get packages in the mail the next day, view the news while it’s happening and constantly be up to date with the world, there are also some negative side effects to this lifestyle, an example being how transitory certain aspects of life become.

Digging deeper, we find that one ever-evolving aspect of our society is fashion. The latest trends are constantly fluctuating, which allows for artistic expression and creative exhibition. However, with different fads and trends going in and out of style so often, the consequence is additional waste.

While it is easy to discard waste with no thought as to how it could be reused, recycled and upcycled, it is imperative to consider the latter. Not only can old clothing items that no longer suit you be properly recycled and go to other people who will find that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but different wasteful byproducts of human activity can be recycled into eco-friendly clothing. An example of this is plastic water bottles being repurposed into T-shirts.

That being said, there are plenty of affordable, environmentally friendly ways for Rider students to be sustainable when it comes to fashion.

Companies like A Lot to Say and Recover Brands create clothing apparel and other products using polyester from plastic bottles and cotton from scraps. They also minimized the usage of dyes and chemicals to produce affordable and fashionable clothing suitable for anyone. These products are important to create and consume as they decrease the amount of harmful chemicals and waste in the environment, as well as sustainably repurpose materials that otherwise would not biodegrade, such as plastic bottles.

Sarah Bergen, ’15, uses resources like Poshmark and Green Street Consignment located in Princeton.

“I make a little extra money by selling my old clothes, which also ensures that they don’t end up in a landfill,” she said. “I also find new items to add to my wardrobe at great prices.”

Actions like these have a significant impact upon the environment — after all, according to Planet Aid, the average American throws away approximately 80 pounds of textile waste per year. Moreover, clothing can take up to 40 years to decompose, yet 95 percent of it can be recycled.

Being green when it comes to fashion goes beyond buying products that are made in an eco-friendly way. It can be as simple as recycling or donating your clothes when you are done with them. By donating old clothes, other people can use them rather than having the items waste away in landfills. By recycling old clothes, the raw materials can be repurposed and reused to create other useful products.

It is vital to consider the ways you can eliminate the waste you produce, and nearly everything can be recycled, especially clothing. Furthermore, purchasing apparel that was made by sustainable processes further reduces your carbon footprint.

There are approximately 8 billion people on this planet capable of making a change. If every person purchased one piece of upcycled clothing and recycled one piece of old clothing, the positive impact on the environment would be gargantuan.

There are roughly 5,000 students at Rider; each individual can have a significant impact. Don’t let the trends of our culture hinder you from being sustainable when it comes to fashion.

—Melissa Willhouse

Rider University Eco-Rep 

Published in the 9/27/17 issue.

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