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Fewer garment purchases can help planet’s health


If consumers were to buy fewer clothes, that would help in the fight against climate change. So says Hot or Cool Institute.

The sweet spot is limiting new garment purchases to no more than five pieces a year. Americans purchase more than ten times that in a given year, with most consumers buying an average of 68 new garments every year. But 80 percent of those are seldom worn.

Personal changes play a role in the fight against climate change, and reducing new garment purchases is more than four times more effective at reducing the industry’s carbon footprint than the next best solution, which is reusing garments.Upstream emissions are driving more than 80 percent of the fashion industry’s footprint; these occur in the production phase, including cultivating materials, tailoring, and finishing. The emotional aspects intrinsic to experiencing fashion, changing garments, and experimenting with self-expression could be filled by other practices such as providing skills for modifying or mending one own’s clothes, using upcycled materials, and changing the attitude towards fashion aesthetics.

Emissions in wealthier nations including the US, UK, and EU members need to drop by 60 percent before the end of the decade. And countries including Brazil, China, South Africa, and Turkey must reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030.


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