Fast fashion – a rash action: How you can better your wardrobe and help the planet

Green Inspiration BC wants you to really think about what you're wearing.

It is now a common sight in most supermarket checkouts to see magazine headlines advertising the latest looks from fashion capitals. "Fall 2017 looks are...", "Spring 2019 will have..". Each new season, the various designers trot out their latest offerings on models, and those with enough money will dole out their pennies to buy those clothes. While the majority of us cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars on a t-shirt, distributors of fast fashion companies (those you see in the malls selling items for extremely affordable prices) will watch the runways, see what is trending, and figure out a way to replicate those trends for a fraction of the cost.

It all sounds good, right? But there is an issue.

There is an unfortunate hidden cost to procuring new clothing so ultra-affordably. Literal and figurative corners are cut in order to save pennies, and many of them have adverse effects on the environment. Much of the fabric used to create the garments is made out of various blends of plastic and cotton. Because of this, the garments have a tendency to wear out more quickly than more traditional items made out of natural fibres, and are more difficult to be recycled in facilities for other purposes.

Pavel Lalev, the Development Manager for Green Inspiration BC, knows all about this. His company owns the green textile collection bins that dot the Lower Mainland. The bins are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and have been repurposed to be one hundred percent safe to everyone who might interact with them, with proceeds from the bins benefiting local charities.

Green Inspirations collects shoes, textiles, and garments, and then passes them over to graders who sort them to be resold, recycled, or repurposed.

He says that while it can be tempting to buy fast fashion, it's ultimately not worth it.

"You're much better off in the long run to buy something of better quality," Lalev says. "Garments made from whole natural fabrics, like cotton or linen, will last a lot longer than cheaper items, and won't end up in the landfill when they're not useful to you anymore."

For more information on what you can do to prevent the textiles in your life from becoming waste, head to Green Inspiration BC.

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