Clothing and how we carelessly consume it has tremendous impact on the environment. I say it is about time we dust off some old habits in order to make each piece live as long as possible.
According to businessoffasion.com and National Geographic the fashion and textile industry is the second biggest polluter only outcompeted by the oil industry. It easily takes roughly 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton equal to one single t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Moreover an overwhelming number of 8,000 different chemicals are used to turn raw materials into clothing while putting both unprotected labour forces and end-users at risk.
In Denmark we are concerned about the environment and we like to believe we live accordingly. On fashion consumption we are however far above (35 percent) the world average and the worst in the Nordic countries wrote DR in December 2013. DR further concluded that our consumption has increased by 20 percent to 16 kg each year since 2000. I wonder did we really need more or did we just get a good deal!? Being a Dane I know we sure like a good bargain.
I suggest a focus on fashion similar to recents years’ focus on food waste. Use less, use more consciously and last but not least take care of what we already have in our closets. At least this is a journey I have embarked and mending is one of the roads I’ll be traveling.
And I could add that us parents love to spoil our children.
Though our family is on a journey to live a more sustainable life we still want new things and I still love to spoil my two lovely children. One way to do so while still being sustainable is buying second hand.
My children are currently having a winter break from kindergarten and somehow we have created an unintentionally tradition of giving our children something new to play with when they have longer holidays. To keep the tradition alive I visited a second hand shop yesterday and found quite a lovely pile of preloved toys (see the photo). It’s a lovely mix of books and toys, old and new, plastic and wood.
Second hand online
Besides second hand shops we sell and buy online using Danish based apps and homepages like DBA and Reshopper. We especially look for wooden toys and LEGO. I find the quality of the preloved toys quite good and will always recommend others to do the same as much as possible.
Flea markets treasures
Some of our favorite toys are second hand found at a flea market close to where we have spend many of our summer holidays. Visiting the flea market and finding new toys is quite and event for both of my eldest children.
I wish more people would sell and buy toys second hand. I believe the world has enough cheap low quality toys that are just lying around not being used. If you only have a small amount of money to spend why not buy preloved toys? I know it is not fully accepted and maybe a bit of a tabu for most people but does it have to be like that?
A bit of toy industry facts
The toy industry of close to 80 billion US dollars globally is dominated by 5 major companies Mattel, LEGO, Namco Bandai, Hasbro and Jakks Pacific. The toy industry has seen challenging years recently. Out of the major 5 companies LEGO has however experienced 25% growth from 2014-2015. In 2016 the industry in total saw growth again during first half year and especially in the subcategory of outdoor and sporting.
If recent numbers indicate a trend towards more intelligent toys like toys to make children active and increase their creatively I welcome the development. I hope the development will also show a decline in sales of cheap stupid toys that are only used once and impossible to resell after use. The kind you get at McDonalds or buy for 10, 20 or 30 DKK at Flying Tiger or similar.
Long live toys of good quality made sustainably and ethically correct. Use them, love them and pass them on for others to continue their life circle.