Have you wondered why we have to conserve water? Even when our planet is 70% water? Well my friends, despite that, only 2.5% of it is freshwater and shockingly only 0.3% of it is accessible. So yes, we do need to safeguard it as best as we can. We can do so with mindful purchasing and caring for our clothes in the smartest way possible.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter of freshwater. The dyeing and treatment process of textile alone generates 20% of industrial wastewater. This untreated water is usually drained directly into the river, threatening the livelihood of both farmers and fishermen who rely heavily on these resources as well. To counter this, we need to buy less and buy well. We should buy from transparent brands who use ethically-made fabrics, such as naturally dyed textiles. Not all textile mills treat their wastewater responsibly
In our home, about 22% of water use goes to doing laundry. Imagine how much water we can save if we do full loads and wash less frequently. It also extends the lifespan of your clothes, as fibers are less likely to shed or degrade during the process. A great wardrobe staple that doesn’t require much washing is denim. All we have to do is air it out under the hot sun. If you are like me who likes to re-wear thumbs up to you! It's such an effortless way to save water. A good pair of denim can go for weeks without being washed, so invest in a good quality pair folks. How the heck am I supposed to know how to care for my jeans at home you ask? Lauren made this short care video just for folks like you.
Another big culprit of water pollution are microplastic fibers. I mean, all of those synthetic fur sweaters that were trending last winter y’all. Currently, our filtration system is not advanced enough to filter out microfibers that shed in the washing machine. Try to buy clothes that are of high quality, made from durable materials. Additionally, you can put a filter in the washing machine to trap microparticles. These days you can also get laundry bags that’ll trap those pesky fibers on particularly shedd-y items.
When it comes to saving our precious freshwater resources, there's no shortcut. We can’t offset our water footprint with money. The good thing is that we can make changes in market demand, by choosing to buy responsibly made products over cheap, mass produced options. As they say, ‘less is more’. We can choose to live a more sustainable life by consuming less, and washing our clothes responsibly.
Cover photo: Click America
By Buranee Soh. Very special thanks to Lauren for invaluable input and guidance.