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Encouraging North Americans to Pollute Less, Consume Fewer Resources, and Use Less Energy since 2007.

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Clothing

Well, you've got to have some. How much, how often, made where, made by whom, made from what are the big questions.

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Find alternatives to cottonEasier said than done, but cotton production uses a lot(!) of water and a lot(!) of pesticides. Other materials may be much better. At least choose organic cotton to reduce the pesticide use. Hemp and linen may be good alternatives to cotton.no comment yet
Hang dry clothesIt is easier on the environment and on your clothes to hang-dry them rather than using the electric dryer. significant
Spin-dry clothesUse a spin-dryer to get the last bit of water out of your laundry before you put it in the clothes dryer, or even better hang it on the line to dry. Drying times are significanly reduced. Google: spin dryer.significant
Avoid white or black clothes Unless you are a baker or chimney sweeper, you have to wash white or black clothes much more often because dirt or dust shows on them much sooner. Washing clothes requires energy and creates pollution, more if you use hot water.
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Avoid clothes that need dry cleaning. Dry cleaning means essentially cleaning the clothes with solvents rather than water. Most of the dry cleaning facilities use tetrachloroethylene, a carcinogenic chemical that eventually ends up in the atmosphere and soil. The solid and liquid left-overs of commercial dry-cleaning are hazardous wastes that need to be stored safely. There are some newer, safer methods, but it is probably best to buy clothes that do not need dry-cleaning.
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Try hand-washing If you are willing to experiment, careful hand-washing often cleans a "dry-cleaning only" garment just fine. Has always worked for me. Even hanging it in a rain storm may be enough without destroying the piece. Do that your own risk though. I do not know what you are wearing!
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Buy used clothes Not everyone can do it (and if everyone did it it would not work), but for the moment, buying used clothes delays their ending up in the landfill for a while and it reduces pollution. If you share clothes with an unknown stranger, less have to be made, transported, distributed, etc.
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Purchase clothing and shoes made from recycled fabrics Recycled fibers are gained from recycling plastic items such as soda bottles. Recycling only works if the products made from recycled materials are purchased by enough people. You pollute less because less new material has to be made.
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Keep clothes for a long time Clothes you can keep wearing for a long time need to be durable. They also cannot be fashionable because they will be out of style tomorrow. Buying clothes that last long reduces the need for production and reduces pollution.
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Give clothes away Give them away for others to use if they are still in good shape. That way you share your clothes with another person and you reduce pollution by reducing production.
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