Day 16: Swap don't shop

Zero Waste challenge
Jas (The Ginger) and Morgana (The Vegan) are undertaking the Zero Waste Challenge: finding ways to refuse, reuse, reduce, and recycle as much as possible in their lives, and ask you to join them on their journey.

So, you like a bit of retail therapy?

Whether you consider shopping malls crammed with rows of dresses to be palaces of wonder or you prefer shopping online because the idea of crowds and queues makes you sick to your stomach, constant textile consumption is a huge part of modern society. And it’s got its (many) problems.

The problem
The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful industries in the world. In a 2017 report, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that one garbage truck of textiles is burnt or landfilled every second. The current "take-make-dispose" system doesn’t just hurt your wallet and the environment, it could even impact your health. The report warns that each year, an estimate of half a million tonnes of plastic micro-fibres that are shed from washing clothes make their way into our oceans and water systems.

Shockingly, less than one percent of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing, and textile production accounts for 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

We can't emphasize the seriousness of problems caused by fast fashion enough and the bonkers statistics go on and on. The more we buy the more we contribute to this endless chain of supply and demand.

So the Ginger and the Vegan suggest: SWAP DON’T SHOP.

The solution
Jas and Morgana already live out of each other’s pockets and swap clothes all the time, so this challenge would be far too easy if we kept our swapping between ourselves.

We needed to set our sights higher.

Bring on the gal pals. We’ve all got a group of friends whose outfits we compliment and lowkey want to wear ourselves; why not get over the fear of "who will wear it better" and accept that sharing is caring. It’s cheaper, adds a bit of variety and, it's zero waste! (Terms and conditions may apply: rights to the first Instagram picture in that outfit generally go to the buyer.)

Why have one wardrobe when you can have multiple? Swapping clothes doesn’t mean you’ll be behind the trends: if anything you can follow a few more at no extra cost.


We found that this challenge required a bit of organisation. Whilst you might be lucky enough to live near your mates, the other half of our gall-group live on the other side of Amsterdam, a 50-minute cycle away. But the Ginger and the Vegan are unfazed by something as trivial as distance when there is waste to be abolished. (And dinner and drinks to be had)

This is easy to do when it's just between you and your flatmates, but taking it up to a bigger scale requires a different way of thinking and maybe even (gasp) planning. Taking action, however, is totally necessary in order to tackle the fashion industry's current unsustainable trend and the effort is worth making for a wasteless wardrobe. 

This article is part of our 30 days  Zero Waste challenge.
Read what Jas and Morgana were up to in the past few days.

Day 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15

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