Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Those three calls to action are well known throughout the culture thanks to the efforts made by environmental activists since 1970. Now, according to a story in Los Angeles Times, there’s an update for conscious consumers to consider: Reuse. Remake. Refrain.
The article focuses on the “Reuse” and “Remake” aspects of the solution. But I’d like to pull a factoid from the story that helps us consider the need to “Refrain.”
Each year, Americans trash a prodigious portion of their closets: 26 billion pounds of apparel, textiles and footwear, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The amount thrown out by consumers surged 40% in 2009 from 1999 and is expected to zoom up another 40% by 2019, the agency said.
I am having a hard time imaging just how massive that is — 26 billion pounds of clothes in a heap at the dump. However, we look at it, it’s not a pretty picture. And it’s not just the massive mound of waste that’s bothersome, it’s all the needless acts of commerce that lead to it. Sure, Wal-Mart has cheap clothes, but are they any good? Will you be wearing that Made-in-China shirt six months from now?
The newspaper points to Yerdle (why shop when you can share?), a website launched during last year’s Black Friday shopping swarm, as one possible alternative to the dump, or a second hand store.
Members use the platform to offer underutilized goods — clothing, electronics, even pianos — to friends and acquaintances free of charge. The site has 18,000 participants so far, is less anonymous than Craigslist and more eco-minded than Facebook.