By now you should know—the greenest clothes possible are the ones you already own. Re-wearing your clothes as long as you possibly can is simply the best way to make up for the resources their production (and shipping) depleted. But if you must buy new clothes (let’s face it, most people *me included* like doing this from time to time), there are a few things you should keep your eyes open for.
1. Try to choose clothes made from materials that can be cold washed and line dried—anything more advanced (i.e. dry-clean only) continues to tax the environment significantly as it ages.
2. Buy clothes you know will last! The longer you can wear them, the better.
3. Check out thrift shops. They are the equivalent of clothing recyclers and as an added bonus, a great way to cheaply restock your wardrobe.
4. Shop around for clothing made from reused materials. This can be anything from recycled plastic bottles to grocery bags! If you are cold, look for fleece fabric made from spun bottles.
5. Try to buy organically grown materials. In the United States, ten percent of all agricultural chemicals are used to grow cotton that only covers one percent of farmland! Organic materials won’t poison the earth with fertilizers and pesticides. You can find organic cotton, wool, linen, flax and hemp.
6. If you can’t buy organic, the next best thing are materials derived from wood pulp, bamboo, soy and corn. When they can no longer be worn, simply throw the garment into your compost heap!
With everything you do, paying attention to the effects your choices have on the environment is of the utmost importance. Nothing matters more than protecting our planet. So before you run out to replace your jeans, shop around—the earth will thank you!