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5 Ways You Can Christmas Shop Sustainably

For most Aussies, the end of November and start of December are the best time of year to get their shop on.

This year we saw hundreds of retailers slashing their prices to keep up with each other, and the National Retailers Association predicted that Aussies would spend over $1.3 billion over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales period.

But what people don’t think about is the damage these types of sales causes to the environment. Textile waste is becoming a real epidemic in Australia with the average Aussie contributing 23 kilograms every year. It’s time we flip the script on sales like Black Friday and instead think green to champion the planet rather than fast fashion.

In the lead up to holiday sales and beyond, Aussies should look to sustainable ways of shopping to prevent more clothing ending up in landfill -- and here are some ways you can look great this holiday season with less harm to the planet.

There are stacks of ways to have a more sustainable holiday. (Image: Getty)

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1. Visit your local op-shop or charity shop

Did you know that Australians dispose of six tonnes of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes? With this in mind, why buy new when you could find a pre-loved gem in an op-shop? The overabundance of used clothing makes second hand shopping the perfect solution for Aussies who don’t want to contribute to textile waste (and it’s much friendlier on your wallet!)

Shopping at your local Salvos or Red Cross shop not only keeps textiles out of landfills but it stops the production of toxic or exploitative new clothing. The best part of all? That you’ll be helping out your fellow Aussies during the holiday period.

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2. Educate yourself on ethical and sustainable retailers

While it can be difficult to truly unpack the environmental impact of a clothing item’s existence -- from production to dying to finishing and finally to shipping -- thinking about the positive impact of a fairly-made garment is much easier.

Try to shop with fair trade brands instead, so not only will you have the moral satisfaction that the clothing you’re purchasing has been made ethically but it’s a great motivator to encourage friends and family to shop more sustainably too. There’s a number of amazing Aussie designers including ELK and Vege Threads whose foundations are based on creating fashionable garments both ethically and sustainably.

Shopping with Certified B Corporations (B Corps) is also a good way to ensure that the retailer you’re spending your money with meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance their bottom line and ethical purpose. Clothing retailers like Patagonia and Veja are great examples of B Corps that look to provide Aussies with quality items that don’t cost the earth (literally.)

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3. Say no to nasty fabrics

It’s also really important to think about what your clothing is made from. For example, polyester is made from oil and is essentially a collection of plastic threads. Not only do these types of fabrics shed microfibers into waterways but the creation of acrylic fabrics is incredibly toxic for the environment.

While it might be tricky to avoid fabrics like polyester entirely, there are other options including polyester that’s made of recycled plastics like water bottles and fishing nets. These types of recycled polyester products help support the recycling industry and also help to prevent plastic waste from entering landfills or the ocean.

There are also fabrics like silk, linen and wool that are all-natural and have a significantly smaller impact on the environment -- although they might be on the more expensive side!

While it might be tricky to avoid fabrics like polyester entirely, there are other options including polyester that’s made of recycled plastics like water bottles and fishing nets. (Image: Getty)

4. Consider curating a capsule wardrobe

The best thing you can do to help the environment this holiday period is to simply just buy less clothing and capsule wardrobes and encourage Aussies to buy timeless, high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time. The biggest impact of a clothing garment comes from the fact it was created in the first place, meaning the more times you wear an item, the lower the impact on the planet.

With this in mind, saying no to fast fashion in lieu of items that were made sustainably, from eco-friendly materials means that you’re investing in quality garments that won’t end up in the bin after one or two wears.

Say no to fast fashion and invest in fewer quality pieces -- for yourself, and for those on your holiday gift list. (Image: Getty)

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5. Why buy when you can rent?

Believe me, I know that as Christmas party season approaches, the urge to buy a new outfit (or two) can be hard to resist. But why buy a dress you’ll only wear once when you could rent one? Not only will you save money but renting means that you have the flexibility to wear multiple outfits for all the events you have on rather than being limited by a strict budget.

It can also be a great way to encourage your loved ones to think about shopping more sustainably by gifting them gift cards to fashion rental sites, preventing even more clothing from entering landfill.

Renting your wardrobe, and gifting wardrobe rentals to friends, is a great way to reduce waste. (Image: Getty)

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You can read more about fashion rental and purchase holiday gift cards at  GlamCorner.