Europeans Buy 14.8 kg of Clothes Yearly, Discard After 7 Wears


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Statistics show that we are buying more clothes than ever, especially because we have the option to buy them quickly and easily on the Internet. Thus we ended up suffocating our wardrobe with dozens of kilograms of clothes every year.

According to a graph presented by the European Environment Agency, we buy, on average, 14.8 kilograms of clothes and shoes annually. This being only the average, it goes without saying that there is a large portion of the population that purchases clothing items in a much larger quantity.

However, they end up being worn too few times, before being thrown away, becoming almost disposable products for some people.

According to statistics, we throw them away after only seven wears on average. Whether they break, whether they no longer fit us in size or we get bored with them, these products thus quickly end up as textile waste. It is estimated that each European generates 16 kilograms of textile waste annually, products that he has purchased that year or in previous years.

At the same time, because the demand for new garments is high, pressure is put on the production of new textile products, and this industry is one of the most polluting globally. To protect the environment and slow the rapid pace of climate change, we need to extend the life of the clothes we buy and limit the overconsumption of new clothes. One solution is to get into the habit of using the services of clothing repair and repair shops or shoe shops, when what we bought no longer fits us perfectly in size or has been slightly altered.

In Romania, there are still many tailoring workshops or cobblers that can help us extend the life of clothes and shoes. For this purpose, the People to People Humana Organization is involved in creating a connection between consumers and these specialists in order to reduce the amount of textile waste and at the same time support the circular economy, but also the guild of tailors and shoemakers in Romania.

“We still have quite a few tailoring and retouching workshops in Romania, and we want to build a network between them and Humana’s customers. If you like a piece of clothing but it’s a bit loose or needs minor alterations, a tailor can fix the problem simply, quickly and cheaply. We also want to change people’s thinking and behavior so that the fashion industry is truly sustainable. The Repair project, which we are currently implementing, consists of an affiliated network of tailors and shoemakers who can repair or retouch clothing and footwear purchased from Humana thrift stores, with the aim of reducing clothing waste. We believe that reusing and repairing already worn clothes complies with the European Union guidelines for sustainability and supports the circular economy model we aspire to. Just as second-hand clothing is a necessity for the planet’s sustainable future, so must the habit of tailoring. In our stores, customers who find clothes that require certain alterations can scan a QR code, with which they will be directed to the nearest tailor. We want to build a recipe for tailoring and touch-up workshops from all over the country,” declares Mădălina Corciu, representative of the Humana People to People Organization.

The European Union has determined that we need a sustainable fashion industry, and this means that we need to use clothing items for a longer time. The report “A Zero Waste Vision for Textiles” recommends, among the solutions to reduce clothing waste, supporting the repair sector in each country.

“Reusing clothes, such as second-hand clothes, goes hand in hand with the repair and touch-up part of them because this way we can extend the life of an article of clothing. We set out to support tailors and shoemakers, who can easily, quickly and cheaply adjust any clothing item that may be too big or has a small flaw. We currently have six workshops in the Repair network: two in Bucharest and four in Ploiesti, and we are in discussions to expand to all the cities where there are 42 Humana stores. We want to invite all tailors in Romania to be part of this movement. We can thus create thousands of green jobs”, adds Mădălina Corciu, representative of the Humana People to People Organization.

Extending the life of a garment through the services of a tailor brings many benefits, both economically and sustainably. Repairing or adjusting clothes reduces the demand for new products, which helps reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Then, often the cost of repairing an item of clothing is less than purchasing a new one of similar quality. Repairing clothes allows us to keep the items we love and fit our personal style. It also helps reduce waste and promotes a more responsible approach to consumption. Last but not least, by using the services of a tailor, we support small businesses and contribute to the local economy.

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