14 Zero Waste Tips: Make Earth a Better Place

Why is it important to talk about global waste?

Statistics show that in the EU each person creates around 502 kg of waste per year, which makes more than 1 kg of waste per day! 

Even though a lot of countries in Europe separate waste, most of the waste ends up in landfills and creates a big burden for our environment. It’s natural, with growing consciousness and environmental awareness, a need for change and actions is also growing.

That’s where we enter the Zero Waste Movement along with some great zero waste tips!

Zero Waste Tips

What is a Zero Waste Movement?

You’ve probably heard your friends talking about the Zero Waste Movement?

If not yet, the Zero Waste Movement is a way of thinking and living that promotes the goal of reducing the amount of material we throw away and instead reincorporating by-products of one system for use for another system.

There is no such thing as ‘waste’ in Nature. In nature, the by-product of one system is feedstock for another system!

There are quite a few people giving tips on how to go zero waste at home or with one's wardrobe, basically a lot of creativity, slowing down and mindfulness is included trying to avoid waste wherever possible.

Indeed, the zero waste concept might sound impossible and even discouraging knowing the haste of our routines, yet ‘Low Waste’ or ‘Less Waste’ hopefully are easier to imagine, thus achieved!

The goal in any case should be sending no or as littles waste as possible to the landfills!

What are Zero Waste Movement Principles?

The founder of the Zero Waste Movement is considered to be Bea Johnson, a frenchwoman living in the US. The Johnson family has been living with the Zero Waste principles since 2008 and they seem to only produce enough waste per year to fill a large canning jar! Is this even possible?

Seems like the answer is yes, if one follows five simple principles:

  1. Avoid. If you don’t need something, you should do without it!
  2. Reduce. Consuming less means throwing less away {water counts as well}! 
  3. Reuse. If you outgrew your dress, your friend might still enjoy it enormously!
  4. Recycle. Quite a few valuable materials might sometimes be recovered from waste!
  5. Compost. Yes, we can also compost natural linen to help it return to the natural cycle!

The zero waste approach seeks to maximize recycling, minimize waste, reduce consumption and ensure that products are made to be reused, repaired or even recycled back to the marketplace or nature, whenever possible!

Zero Waste Movement

Why Should We Consider the Zero Waste Method With Our Own Wardrobe?

The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful industries in the world. Each year, companies waste a staggering amount of textile to increase profits and sales.

Although nearly 100% of textiles are recyclable, nearly 95% of reusable textile is discarded. Unknown amongst many consumers, the fashion industry accounts for nearly 10% of global carbon emissions and roughly 20% of the world’s waste water.

Although there are many companies who are now using sustainable alternatives, it is also important for us as consumers to understand that what we buy and discard also holds us accountable for greenhouse emissions, negative environmental impact and the production of waste water.

According to the European Textile Agency, on average EU consumers discard about 11 kg of textiles per person per year.

How Can We Apply the Zero Waste Principles To Our Wardrobes?

Seems like it’s not so difficult to go Zero Waste {Less Waste or Lower Waste, not to get too anxious} with our wardrobes! All we need to do is start with these simple tips listed below.

Rethink our current wardrobe

1. Rethink our current wardrobe

    Would you agree that we mostly wear around 20% of all the clothes hanging in our wardrobes?

    Seems like the universal pareto principle works here as well. The first step towards building a Zero Waste wardrobe - go through our current clothing menu and figure out the items we are no longer or have rarely been using!

    Let’s buy better

    2. Let’s buy better

      How many times have we bought something spontaneously that then just sat in the wardrobe with tags still attached and never worn?

      Ever bought an item that looked good on a model, but not on us? Something that was too tight and absolutely not comfortable? A piece of clothing that we knew we’d never wear, yet it looked so good on our colleague? Something that was absolutely out of our general style range and hardly matched with anything in our wardrobe?

      Usually, decluttering our wardrobes down to the essentials is the turning point in understanding what we actually wear - styles, materials and colors. It then gets much easier to buy better and waste less money on clothing we’d hardly ever wear.

      Let’s think before we buy

      3. Let’s think before we buy

        Ever heard of a 30 wears rule?

        Popularized by Liva Firth of The True Cost, the 30 Wears Campaign challenges us to ask the question “will I wear this 30 times?” before making a new purchase.

        The 30 Wears Challenge is a great way for a newcomer to dive into the sustainable fashion world.

        We don’t need to give up buying the clothes we love or spend our days researching how ethical a company is. All we have to do is answer honestly to one simple question - will I manage to wear this piece of clothing at least 30 times?

        The goal of the 30 wears challenge campaign is to encourage all of us to buy less fast fashion and more slow, quality pieces that they will wear over and over again. The less we buy, over time, the less that will end up in landfills.

        Choose timeless

        4. Choose timeless

        It’s not a secret any more that fast fashion got us into a wild dance of over 50 seasons a year!

        This means that by the time you take your newest dress back home from the store, it might already be out of fashion.

        When making a purchase it’s worth considering if this new item is a seasonal trend or has potential to withstand the fast change of fashion trends and stay relevant for as long as the fabrics allow it!

        Take a look at this list of iconic styles throughout the history of fashion and get inspired for your wardrobe! You can also find our iconic classic dress in more than 10 colors that has already proven to be  versatile and timeless!

        Second hand things you do not need

        5. Second hand things you do not need

        It’s a common rule that we have more clothing nowadays in our wardrobe than we can wear in 3 lifetimes!

        And how many times have you caught yourself thinking you’ve got nothing to wear when standing in front of your full wardrobe? I

        t’s probably time to say good-bye to some of your clothing you haven’t worn in the last 6 months! It might be scary at the beginning, but there is one simple technique: take the clothing out of your wardrobe and store them in the boxes. If you haven’t missed anything in another 3 to 6 months, then it’s time to say good-bye to them.

        And please do not throw them away! Be smart, as you can easily second hand them, donate to charity, swap with your friends or even re-sell!

        Here at Son de Flor we have a great Pre-Loved initiative, where we are inviting our customers to send the Son de Flor dresses that are not worn, back home for free! Even more, for each returned dress we offer a gift voucher! Read more here.

        Recycle and Repair

        6. Upcycle - Recycle - Repair

        It was an uneasy feeling when a friend of mine from China told me that she rarely washes her clothes as it’s too expensive.

        Cheaper it is to simply ‘throw that t-shirt away and buy another one, as they are so cheap here!’.

        What we do not understand is that our Planet is round and all the trash, including fashion trash, ends up somewhere here, piling up the landfills and causing even more pollution.

        If you’ve decided to take a small step towards less waste and making this world a better place, it’s worth taking a look at this blog here, which offers multiple ways of repairing, upcycling or recycling your clothes to give them a chance of a second life!

        If your linen dress is totally worn out, keep in mind that the qualities of linen fabric, especially, being moisture absorbent, never fades, thus you can always recycle it into a cleaning cloth for your home!

        Fast fashion

        7. Skip fast fashion

          Amazing marketing is making it really hard to resist the flirting dance of fast fashion. It’s creating a need a sensitive consumer gets hooked on and addicted in no time.

          Thus if you’ve decided to take a step towards zero or less waste direction, it’s worth trying to skip the fast fashion stores and ending up with bags full of clothing that will probably be worn only a few times!

          Even better idea is to save yourself from temptation to enter fast fashion stores during the sale periods, unless you have a list of must-haves and are committed to taking good care of your new purchases so that it lasts as long as possible!

          Shop local

          8. Shop local - shop sustainable

            Buying local and local/sustainable is usually a great idea, especially if it’s a small boutique style shop and you might even know the owner. In this case you are not only supporting a family business, but also can take the burden of reading origin and care labels carefully, as it is already done for you.

            Small businesses cannot have a privilege of offering their community bad quality products, thus usually the items last longer and serve better! Even more, just think about the CO2 footprint you are saving!

            Skip sales

            9. Skip sales

              How many times have you brought those two dresses you’ve bought for one price and yet wore none?

              Even though sale might be a great opportunity to get yourself something with a promo-price, still the priority should focus on the need, functionality and durability!

              Skipping sales is an amazing opportunity of saving money, but if you can’t then at least let’s come up with a strict list of must-haves and try to stick to it! It’s not easy, but living a zero waste life is a mission worth that!

              Choose natural fibers

              10. Choose natural fibers

                Do you know that natural linen biodegrades in 2 weeks only? As compared to polyester that might stay around for more than 200 years?

                When considering a new piece of clothing, you might want to choose natural fibers, as less pollution is created in the process of production as well as once the life span of such a garment is over. 

                Use size charts

                11. Use size charts

                  Never before was it so easy to buy yourself a piece of clothing and also so complicated.

                  Today your dress might come from the farthest corner of the world in a few days, the only question is how to know the size?

                  Different standards in different parts of the world make it really difficult to choose. Would you believe that the return % of an online clothing brand might reach around 20%?

                  And there are still a lot of clients who choose not to return as it’s too complicated! To avoid double shipping or your new items piling up the trach, note to double check the size charts before purchasing your new garment.

                  Have you seen the virtual fitting room we are using at Son de Flor? We hope it’s useful and functional, as our return rates do not exceed 8% as compared to the 20% or market average!

                  Read care labels

                  12. Read care labels

                    One of the top reasons why our clothing ends up unwearable depends on our mindless character to skip care labels!

                    We either miss what it’s made off or at what temperature is good for washing. Would you believe it’s not legal to sell a garment without a clear care indication?

                    It not only allows us to understand what it’s made of, but also where it’s coming from, so that we all respect that long path it made to appear in our arms and  thus take proper care of it! Important not to give extra attention to white clothing so it lasts longer!

                    Take care of your clothing

                    13. Take care of your clothing

                      Usually we put a lot of pressure on fashion producers, however when thinking about zero-waste, we must admit that equally important part belongs to the consumers of fashion!

                      To prolong the lifespan of a garment, it’s important to take good and proper care of it! Find the tips for taking care of linen here, as we wish our linen dresses would serve you for decades!

                      Compost

                      14. Compost

                      It sounds strange, but yes - fabrics do biodegrade and we might even help them to compost and close the loop in a literal zero waste manner! The microbes in your compost pile will get to work quickly on linen.

                      If you want to speed up the process this can be done by simply cutting the fabric into smaller pieces. This will give the micro-organisms an even bigger surface area to work their magic on!

                      Zero Waste and Son de Flor

                      An exact definition of a zero waste brand might vary, yet a zero waste brand means it’s working towards producing less waste in the first place through prioritizing waste reduction, as well as reuse, recourse efficiency and recycling with the ultimate goal of closing the loop. In a sense, going Zero Waste is an effective waste management.

                      Here at Son de Flor we are striving for a zero waste title in several ways. First of all, all our garments are made from linen, one of the kindest fabrics to our planet and humans found on Earth, also easily biodegradable.

                      Secondly, our production, though traveling all over the world, is produced locally - from the yarn of linen, to the linen weave and the ready to go linen dress. Finally,  thanks to small batch production, we are managing our waste in a cautious and effective way.

                      Whatever is left from the main production, we are reusing in collaboration with other brands or businesses, for example, our linen scratches become amazing head accessories thanks to Majula Handmade brand or inside fillings of an amazing meditation rugs made by our ex-colleague Ruta and het sustainable brand Towards Panna!

                      Conclusion

                      It’s never easy to get out of one’s comfort zone and become zero-waste all of the sudden, however, it’s also said that throwing oneself on the other side of comfort, brings unimaginable growth and joy!

                      Zero Waste Movement promises us such opportunities as less meaningless shopping, consequential and bigger focus on long lasting products, new and better habits, healthier lifestyle and bodily shape, the joy of being a part of a circular economy, less pollution, less spending and in general - a very positive systematic change!


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