Thanks to ulfast fashion brands, the ease of buying new clothes has surpassed that of repairing existing ones. But imagine if you could receive reimbursement for repairing your current clothes. Would that incentivize you to continue using your existing clothes instead of purchasing new ones?
If you live in France, you have that option. Starting in November, residents of France are eligible for a subsidy for resoling shoes or mending clothes. This measure will make it easier for them to mend their existing clothes and shoes instead of discarding them.
Why is repairing clothes important?
Repairing clothes is an essential step towards sustainable fashion. The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to pollution and waste, with fast fashion brands producing massive amounts of clothing that often end up in landfills. By repairing clothes instead of buying new ones, we can reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, extending the life of clothes by just nine months can reduce carbon, water, and waste footprints by around 20-30% each. Repairing clothes not only saves resources but also helps to preserve the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into creating them.
Each year in France, around 772,000 tons of clothes are discarded, with two-thirds of them — many items likely perfectly wearable — adding to the heaps of usable “trash” in landfills, reported The Guardian.
Textile Waste in the United States
The US generates just over 17 million tons of textile MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) per year, according to the most recent EPA data.
That is around 112lb per person, according to the latest census statistics.
In the US, 66% of all unwanted clothes and textiles are landfilled.
Less than 15% are recycled.
The rest (19%) are burned.
The benefits of repairing clothes
Repairing clothes offers several benefits, both for individuals and the environment. Here are a few reasons why you should consider repairing your clothes:
- Saves money: Repairing clothes is often more cost-effective than buying new ones. By extending the life of your garments, you can save money in the long run.
- Reduces waste: Repairing clothes helps to reduce the amount of textile waste that ends up in landfills. It is a small but significant step towards a more sustainable future.
- Promotes sustainability: Choosing repair over replacement supports the principles of sustainable fashion. It reduces the demand for new clothing production and minimizes the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
- Preserves sentimental value: Clothes often hold sentimental value, whether it's a cherished family heirloom or a favorite piece of clothing. Repairing these items allows you to preserve their sentimental value and continue enjoying them for years to come.
The subsidy for repairing clothes and shoes in France is a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable fashion industry. By incentivizing individuals to repair their existing clothes, we can reduce waste, save money, and promote a culture of repair. Repairing clothes is not only a practical solution but also a way to contribute to a more environmentally conscious society. So, next time you have a tear or a broken button, consider repairing it instead of discarding it. Together, we can make a difference in the world of fashion.