We Portlanders really like being green. But in addition to our hybrid cars and energy-efficient lightbulbs, there’s something else we need to consider buying more ecologically: our clothing. Instead of buying something only to throw it out at the end of the season, consider simple ways to cut down on the clothing part of your carbon footprint. Go slightly greener by taking these three easy steps:
- Shop at used clothing stores: Portland offers a plethora of options to discover used clothes, from our local Goodwill store on Lombard to the Buffalo Exchange downtown. If you balk at the idea of buying clothing that other people have worn, then use these stores to buy things like purses, wallets or jewelry. Buying clothes from these places minimizes waste and also improves your “ethical footprint,” because purchasing from these places keeps money away from companies that take advantage of sweatshop labor in developing countries.
- Buy classic, not trendy : This blouse is a good example of a style that will never fade away. Spend your money on pieces with classic cuts and colors and that are made of fabric that won’t be torn to shreds after one wash.
- Donate your old duds: Every spring and winter, take an inventory of your wardrobe and get rid of any clothing item you haven’t worn in more than a year. You can donate these old clothes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Homeless shelters often will also take used clothes as well. Or, have an exchange party with your friends and see if they want to keep some of the stuff you don’t want.
Sometimes people think minimizing their impact on the planet means being perfect. It doesn’t. It means taking baby steps to change your habits from impulsive, short-term splurges to longer-lasting, more efficient ones.
GoodWill store: By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Blouse: Christine Menges