In the last few years, the environmental and social benefits associated with conscious consumption brought a renewed interest for ‘upcycling’ in the fashion industry. Upcycling helps decrease the environmental harm caused by excess waste through the process of crafting new products from old or used materials & fabrics. This process allows us to increase the lifespan of our products by repurposing clothing that would otherwise be discarded.
Advantages of upcycling include:
- Upcycling helps reduce energy consumption. From electricity needed for sewing machines, heat for washing, drying, and dyeing, the majority of energy consumed in the Fashion industry can be found in textile manufacturing. Additionally, upcycling reduces the energy needed to farm and extract natural materials for new fabrics.
- Upcycling reduces our carbon footprint by limiting our contribution to the 17 million tonnes of textile waste in landfills.
- Upcycling reduces pollution by minimizing the demand for the production of new clothing. Manufacturing clothing contributes negatively to our environment because bleaching, washing, and dyeing are chemically intensive processes, and raw materials like cotton require many pesticides and fertilizers. Upcycling minimizes the necessity to produce new products locally, ultimately reducing 5.2% of landfill waste, 20.00% of water pollution, and 10.00% worldwide air pollution.
- Upcycling can help support local businesses and artisans involved in recreating ‘recycled’ products. Further, upcycling centers allow individuals to network with creative individuals promoting the conservation of reusing materials within the community.
Implementing upcycling into production systems around the world can decrease the harmful effects brought upon by common practices in the Fashion industry, and will ultimately help support our cherished planet!