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Did you know that clothing accounts for about 10% of annual carbon emissions?
Many of us may not be aware of the full extent of the clothing sector’s environmental impacts. For example:
- The dyeing and treatment of textiles causes 20% of industrial water pollution globally.
- Up to 20 – 35% of ocean microplastics are from synthetic clothing; and washing clothes releases half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles.
- It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton shirt – enough water for one person to drink for 2 ½ years.
- Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. Discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years.
As Coronavirus plunges the fashion industry into crisis, could now be the time for a pause and ‘re-set’?
From charity shops and renting clothes, to swishing, repair and upcyling, new trends are emerging as older – and sometimes forgotten – attitudes to clothing enjoy a renaissance. But will these changes be enough?
To explore these questions further, we were joined in June 2020 for a webinar with Kim Polgreen (Director at Leadership in Global Change and Sustainability Educator) and Stephen Cawley (former Head of Sustainability at John Lewis). You can watch the recording of the webinar and access the presentations, read a summary of the event and explore links to further information and resources here.
We’re aiming to make a real and lasting cut in how much plastic we all use.
Will you join us?
You’ll be aware of the problems of single-use and non-recyclable plastics. Many shops and cafes are talking about cutting their waste. Plastic carrier bag use has already fallen in the UK by 85%.
But there’s a whole lot more to be done, and we – as the people buying plastic bottles, plastic-wrapped goods and so much more – also need to make some changes.
Where do we start? We’ve got 10 ‘challenges’ – actions that most people can take now or over a month. You may be doing some of them already. You can see them and download a copy here.
We invite you to choose some of these actions and start to cut that plastic! You may want to discuss this with other members of your family or household – you could encourage everyone to make at least one commitment. There is a more detailed leaflet (full colour, 2 sided) that covers the programme in more detail.
Cut it out!
Going completely ‘plastic-free’ is a real challenge but there’s a great deal that we can all do to cut our use of single-use plastics by half or more over a month. Here’s some more thoughts and ideas:
• Surfers Against Sewage are very active on tackling plastic waste – there’s lots of useful information here.
• Friends of the Earth are running a Plastic Free Fridays programme – with lots of useful tips and ideas.
• Other groups are active on cutting plastics in Oxford – find out more at the Oxford Plastics Action Facebook page.
Recycling the plastic we use is also very important. Many local authorities have different policies so people on holiday or commuting out of the county may find different policy elsewhere. Here is the current list of plastic items Oxford City Council can and can’t accept for recycling (or see Oxford City Council’s website):
Plastics – Yes Please
- Bottle tops
- Bubble wrap
- Cleaning product bottles (remove trigger and put into rubbish bin)
- Cling film (clean)
- Drinks bottles
- Food pots, punnets, trays and packaging (including black trays)
- Milk bottles
- Plastic carrier bags (please do not fill)
- Sandwich packaging
- Shampoo bottles
- Soft plastic plant pots and trays
- Yoghurt, margarine and ice cream containers
- Black bin liners
- Crisp packets
- Coffee machine pods
- Hard plastic (e.g. storage boxes)
- Plastic toys/gadgets
- Polystyrene foam
- Sweet/chocolate wrappers
More information from the City Council on recycling in Oxford is here. They asks you to remember these points
- Please place recycling loose in your blue bin/sack or in a clear bag. They cannot collect recycling contained in black bags. Recycling bins/sacks containing black bags will not be emptied.
- Please also rinse glass bottles, jars, cartons, plastic bottles and cans, as this helps to keep your bin clean. Squashing recycling also saves space in your bin and the collection vehicle.