According to a report conducted by the Australian Fashion Council, around 260,000 tonnes (or 10kg per person) of clothing reaches landfill each year.
Clothing can take hundreds of years to bio-degrade, releasing harsh carbon emissions in the process as its left in landfill. On top of this, the more clothes we buy, the more strain the textile industry places on natural resources like water and cotton. Not to mention, in Australia, one in eight adults and one in six children are living below the poverty line without adequate access to essential clothing.
While consumers can opt for sustainably made items, thrift shopping and mending their old clothes, what is being done on a broader scale to help curb the issue?
One of the initiatives getting real about it all is Thread Together — an Aussie-based foundation that helps save unsold clothes from landfill and redistributes them to people in need.
It does this by partnering with thousands of major fashion brands, collecting their unsold clothing and then connecting with social services (like women’s refuges or crisis accommodation centres) nationwide to deliver to around 2,500 people across the country every week. Additionally, they’ve also partnered with a range of fashion students at schools like RMIT to re-imagine unsold clothes into new, sellable pieces and are working on a soil rejuvenation project in which recycled cotton is used.
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Thread Together is celebrating ten years of good work this year, and there are a couple of easy ways to get involved.
One of the simplest things you can do is add a $2 donation to Thread Together through November and December when you checkout with Afterpay — a longtime supporter and partner of the charity. Afterpay assists Thread Together in saving over 700 tonnes of new fashion from landfill each year and has already raised over $500k for the charity with more to come.
Thread Together also runs a volunteer program monthly, where folks sort, pick and pack clothing orders from a network of charity partners. So if you’re looking for a little bit of do-gooding to do over Christmas and the New Year, you can suss out how to sign up and help out here.
It’s a few hours of work to make life a little easier for others, and you’ll be fighting against the country’s growing landfill problem in the process. Sounds like a pretty good deal if you ask me. It might also help you make more mindful decisions about your own wardrobe and whether you *really* need the items currently sitting in your cart.