Scotland may be a nation stereotyped for its apparent thriftiness, but across the country we waste a staggering amount of money on clothes. The average household owns £4,000 of clothing but one third of this is never worn. This brings the cost of unused clothing to an eye-watering £30 billion across the UK. Even worse, we are sending an estimated £140 million of used clothing to landfill – the equivalent of around 350,000 tonnes.
That is a colossal waste, not just of money but also of resources. Combined with the potential damage to the environment, we are facing a very real problem and it is one that the textile industry is attempting to overcome. After all, the global success the sector has achieved through the export of luxury items such as kilts and cashmere has been reliant on its reputation for quality.
Zero Waste Scotland delivers the “Love Your Clothes” campaign in Scotland, which encourages people to value their clothes and waste less. Aimed at reducing the impact of unwanted clothing on the environment, the campaign is calling on consumers to buy quality items, recycling old or “out of date” ones and encouraging strong stewardship of your attire.
This focus on sustainability has been a hot topic over the past few days at the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival. Over the course of four days some of fashion’s greatest minds have come together to discuss how the industry can engage with businesses and consumers and get both parties on board with making fashion more eco-friendly.