Single use plastics & eco-friendly clothing
It has been some time since we have written a blog, but we have just been rather busy here at Dzihic. Which isn’t a bad problem to have, but does mean we can’t focus on other things. Nevertheless, we’re back and this time we’re talking about single use plastics and eco-friendly clothing.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, what do they have in relation to each other? Well let me set the scene. I was sitting in my living room on the couch with my laptop on my lap with the TV on in the background. As is usually I was relaxing watching various nonsense videos on YouTube but then one came up titled “How China broke recycling”. In the video it detailed how recycling is inherently unprofitable for certain types of plastics because of the difficultly of sorting them. So they end up with big compacted plastic ‘cubes’ worth almost nothing.
The point of the video was how through low cost shipping from western countries to China, and the comparatively low wages in China. By shipping these hard to sort plastics to China, having them sorted and recycled over there and then selling them and having them shipped back to western countries actually made the process profitable.
Now, how eco-friendly and sustainable this actually was in the context of the world I’m not sure. Ultimately the plastics were recycled and repurposes. But the use of large container ships in the whole process probably tipped the scale from ‘eco-friendly’ to ‘eco-harmful’. Nevertheless, it was a YouTube video and made for good watching. And it got me thinking about single use plastics and how despite being eco-conscious, I still use so much one use plastic.
This then got me thinking about single use clothes and how we need to move to a style of living that embraces eco-friendly clothing. I’m sure I know what you’re all thinking. “Was it really necessary to write four paragraphs worth of text just to make that connection?”. The answer being YES of course. What is a story without the background context?
But back to the point, just like how you have reusable plastic, in the form of take away coffee mugs, tupperwear or even metal straws. We need a similar way of thinking when it comes to clothes. For the vast majority of us, we have t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, whatever that we have had for years and wear them constantly. And this is great, saves on having to buy something new every time you go out and helps the world by not filling landfills with old clothes. But there is a growing trend among some, and it is partially fuelled by shops which selling clothes and unbelievably low prices. Let’s not confuse this statement with me hating low prices for clothes, if it were financially possible I’d love to lower the prices of Dzihic clothing. But you know the type of clothing companies I’m referring to, the type where you can get a t-shirt for £5 and a pair of jeans for £10. Wonderful for your pocket, but really quite bad for the environment. Take this into even more context and the reason these clothes are bought are for a night out or a weekend away. Once done and dusted, the garment is quickly thrown away. And at £5 a t-shirt, you aren’t going to miss it much.
So this is then why I believe eco-friendly clothing is very important. If we could normalise the use of sustainable materials and make clothes overall more eco-friendly. Then this habit of one use clothes wouldn’t be a problem. The problem with fast fashion currently, as we here at Dzihic see it, is that clothes use plastic based materials. This is because they can be made synthetically and cheaply, and that’s why they can be sold for prices like the ones stated above. When these clothes are thrown away they can take upwards of 200 years to decompose. But if we make clothing as a whole eco-friendly then that 200 years turns quickly into 20 years and in some cases only a few months.
But the fashion industry is a long way from eco-friendly clothing unfortunately. Clothing which is eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical pushes up the prices. And in an industry that is as crowed as fashion, and especially ecommerce, price is quite an important differentiator. In regard to this topic, you might find our blog on “The pricing dilemma of sustainable clothing brands” interesting. It will also help you understand why prices for companies like Dzihic are higher than others.
So to summarise, as a world we are struggling with the use of single use plastics. But as we become environmentally more conscious we have began using reusable plastics and have began shunning single use. This same mental shift in thinking needs to be applied to the fashion industry and our use of single use clothes. But we need to go even further than just reusable clothing, as that is the norm for the vast majority of us. Instead, we need to work towards eco-friendly clothing that supports single use clothing. So we as a brand, both here at Dzihic, and as a industry need to begin this shift. If for no other reason than to beat the curve because as soon as consumers become environmentally fashion conscious. Then retailers will have to make the shift. This way though, we save a few years of our planets life and avoid the arduous task of playing catch-up.
Keeping everything above in mind. We did want to point out that regardless of if single use or 1 million uses. The ideal situation is eco-friendly clothing but not single use. This way we support our environment through the use of sustainable materials. But also save money by not needing to buy clothes regularly. So this, for us and hopefully, is the ideal situation in the fashion industry. A move always from single use and a move towards general reuse of clothing, especially eco-friendly clothing.