Students at West Ferris Secondary School have been busy this week breathing new life into old items that would otherwise be thrown away.
The students have been collecting old clothes and other unwanted textiles for re-wear and reuse, while raising awareness about issues such as consumption and waste.
It’s all part of the I Give a Shirt Challenge, an initiative of the Recycling Council of Ontario and Value Village which is open to high schools in Ontario and British Columbia and offers prizes for collection, community engagement and social media efforts.
In the spirit of promoting rewear and reuse, we have partnered with Value Village® to challenge all Ontario and British Columbia secondary schools to organize an in-school clothing collection drive for used clothing (textiles) during Waste Reduction Week in Canada 2018. Participating schools are eligible to win up to $2,500 for their school’s environmental initiatives. Prizes will be awarded based on their collection, social media, community engagement, and innovation efforts in the 2018 #IGiveAShirt Challenge.
Canadians send more than 12 million tonnes of clothing and textiles into the waste stream every year – and that’s not a good look. As we shop, scroll, swipe, one-click-ship, like-to-buy and pre-order our way through life, it’s easy to forget that every single “new” purchase is part of the problem. Because, “What’s one more t-shirt?” Well, it takes 2,650 litres of water to make that shirt. “A new pair of jeans?” Add 6,800 litres more. Consumers are addicted to consumption without giving thought to the impact their apparel purchasing behaviours have on the planet.
The numbers are staggering: estimates show that Ontario generates 500,000 tonnes of clothing and textile waste every year and that number is expected to grow rapidly.
A new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is calling for major change in the fashion industry, as synthetic fibres from washed clothes are linked to ocean microplastics.According to IMechE, 35 per cent of microplastics released into our oceans come from synthetic textiles, with a typical 5kg wash load of polyester fabrics producing six million microfibres.
Now a small but growing group of innovators is turning to the genius of nature in an attempt to put wastefulness and pollution in the apparel industry out of fashion, right at the source: They are using live organisms to grow pieces of biodegradable textiles, creating environmentally friendly materials in the laboratory—and are even producing some near-complete items without the need for factory assembly.
Typically when we think about the relationship between water and clothes it’s about which rinse cycle to use on laundry day. Think again, industrial textile production affects water in ways that outlast the lifetime of fashion or clothes.
“The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world...second only to oil,” the recipient of an environmental award told a stunned Manhattan audience earlier this year. “It’s a really nasty business...it’s a mess.”
While you’d never hear an oil tycoon malign his bonanza in such a way, the woman who stood at the podium, Eileen Fisher, is a clothing industry magnate.