This article about making more sustainable clothing choices points out that by wearing a garment twice as many times as the average before discarding it, the environmental impact is lessened by 49%.

It goes on to say that it's hard to get numbers on what average is, but one survey estimates clothes get worn seven times. Looking at all the factors, I understand it. But thinking about how little 14 wears is, 7 hammers home the frantic pace of it all.


@erinbee that number always stuns me since unless it's for formal occasions or something I actively hate (more often from thrift stores anyway), I wear things a lot. Like -- I have some fast fashion tees I bought years ago and have worn dozens of times in the years since... and thinking about it this way, I feel like I haven't had as bad an impact as I might.

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@platypus Me too. And part of the bigger picture isn't on individual choices, it's on lack of infrastructure to domestically recycle textiles in the global north instead of just dumping them mostly in Ghana.

@platypus @erinbee I cannot comprehend wearing something only 7 times unless it just doesn't fit and I give it away.

A local sustainable clothing brand I like says "Science suggests people replace understuff every six months. That sounds about right, but we’re not the boss of you."

I'm still wearing underpants and undershirts from high school, even 8th grade, and I'm 38 years old. Some of them are finally wearing out, developing holes and rips, and graduating to rags.

@skyfaller @erinbee while I love the idea of closed loop underthings, i also... use them enough years that I'd have to see how long these folks stay in business (though I suppose buying and seeing if they're good quality next time I need them, especially as a Pennsylvanian...)

@platypus @skyfaller I used to sell underwear, and you really only need to replace them every six months if you're prone to fungal infections and don't regularly clean them with bleach or hot water and an oxygenated cleaner. (And thongs. They need to be hardcore cleaned or disposed of more quickly than other styles.)

@erinbee @platypus @skyfaller 7 times is such a low number. I wear my favourite t shirts probably once a week each, and some of them are getting on for 5 or 6 years old now. As a fairly small, heavy person I also hate shopping for new clothes so I guess I'm not their core demographic!

@platypus I felt comfortable buying from them because, while one company recycling clothes is a gimmick, here in Philly they are part of a larger circular ecosystem that is developing:

It seems that even if The Big Favorite went under, it's likely that other local entities would carry on recycling in meaningful ways.

@platypus @skyfaller @erinbee jumping in to thanks for the discussion and link!

One place I can see this being really helpful is for those of us recovering from surgery/hormones/body change events where our sizes are changing rapidly. I'm in this situation - I want to avoid contributing to fast fashion but have bought some "throw away" undies in a size I don't expect to need once my body adapts. It's nice seeing there are other options, especially when I can't anticipate what my body will need.

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