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In the bedroom

There are a number of changes you could make in your bedroom to live a greener and cleaner lifestyle. The biggest of these involves your wardrobe…

Narnia isn’t at the back of the wardrobe

But a lot of clothes you don’t wear are. We’ve heard all the reasons: It’s old, it doesn’t fit, it’s got holes, it’s stained, it might come in handy one day, I forgot I had it, I bought it for an occasion and didn’t wear it, I don’t like it anymore, or even worse, it’s still got the labels on!

The fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions – more than the maritime and aviation industries combined. It’s also the second largest consumer of water worldwide and the second largest polluter of water – the water leftover from dyeing fabric is often dumped into ditches, streams or rivers.

The growing market for cheap fashion and new styles is taking its toll on the environment and contributing to climate change. Some retail chains have gone from offering two to three collections per year, to a staggering 24 new collections each year. We are buying 60% more clothing than we did 20 years ago but only keeping it half as long. 85% of all textiles are sent to landfill or burned each year – that’s a lorry full of clothes every second.

Mending and upcycling

Extending the use of one item of clothing by nine months substantially lessens the environmental impact of that piece, reducing its carbon, waste and water footprint by nearly 30%.

Mending and upcycling is key to extending the life of your clothes. You can check out The Hub events to learn or improve your mending or upcycling skills. They even run a regular mending cafe where you can bring an item and get advice and help on how to mend it. We also have some mending and upcycling information here.

Buying “new”

It’s really important to consider if you need to buy new clothes and if you do, where and how you source them. Oxfam has launched a national campaign Second Hand September to encourage more people to buy fashion and clothes second-hand. At Greener and Cleaner we strongly advocate buying children’s clothes and school uniform second-hand too. Your PTA is a wonderful source of school items.

Taking care of your clothes

Wearing items of clothing more than once before washing can hold colour and shape for longer.

Hanging and folding effectively also protect and preserve pieces that we do wear frequently. (Turns out your mum was right, we shouldn’t hang clothes on the floor or backs of chairs…)

And if your dirty laundry is strewn over the floor – check out our kitchen page for laundry tips.

Clothes, clutter and toys

It’s all very well for Marie Kondo to ask if it brings us joy and for us to make the decision to let an item go when it doesn’t, but what do we do with it then…?

Dispose of or pass on items responsibly and thoughtfully.

You can check out our tips for recycling here, our A-Z Wiki and your local freebeecyclers groups. Kids clothes and toys can easily be rehomed or sold; think boot sales, nearly new sales, NCT clubs, playgroups, freebeecyclers, Facebook marketplace plus lots of different apps.

  • Source from ethical stores or brands.
  • Invest in refills if appropriate.
  • Be more aware of what different ingredients are and how they affect you and the environment.
  • Buy less of them.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

One of the great lessons in life is that it’s what’s inside that counts, but still, we all like to look our best on the outside.

Beauty products, cosmetics and make-up can contain chemicals that are harmful to us and the environment. Often packaged in hard plastic, they can also be tricky items to recycle.

  • Check out our tips on recycling tricky items.
  • Look at the credentials of the brands you buy.
  • Source from ethical stores or brands.
  • Invest in refills if appropriate.
  • Be more aware of what different ingredients are and how they affect you and the environment.
  • Buy less of them.

The unwieldy to be read (TBR) pile

If you’re anything like the two in five (43%) of Britons who say they read for pleasure at least once a week, the pile of books to be read is taller than the bedside table. By more than two to one, readers prefer a physical book to an ebook or audiobook.

Buying second-hand books, or better still borrowing them from libraries or friends, is great for the environment. Charity shops and boot fairs are also great places to pick up your next paperback adventure.

If you’re after a particular title, either for pleasure or professional reasons, ask friends and colleagues as they may have a copy you can borrow too. Many professions have their own member library in a physical or online location. For example, the Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists combined their libraries and are moving items online.

And when you have turned the last page, passing on a good read will make you feel good too.

Creating unnecessary waste

One tip to be mindful of – as you start your eco journey don’t be tempted to just replace everything you have with eco-friendly alternatives. That creates a lot of unnecessary waste and can cost a lot.

Instead, think about extending the life of what you have until it no longer serves its purpose, and then moving to a more eco-friendly alternative. Or sell on what you already have and don’t use, to make some money to pay for the things you do want.

Also check out our advice for recycling, including our A-Z Wiki, rehoming, and borrowing.