[Meta description] Fabric craft projects are great ways to use up old fabric – but not the only ways. Let’s look at a few new ideas with old fabric, and keep it out of the landfill.
Header – Fashion & Landfill: Not A Good Fit
This New Zealand arts and crafts supplier reports increasing sales of their products to customers getting creative with fabric craft projects. As far as the art and crafts retailer is concerned, it is an encouraging sign that more people are keen to explore new ways with old fabric, instead of throwing it straight into landfills. It is a mindset that needs to be adopted more widely – globally, textile waste is an enormous problem and one that is growing all the time. Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned, with some estimates suggesting that clothing and textiles make up to 12 % of landfills around the world. The problem is compounded because these garments are not biodegradable.
Fast fashion has much to do with it. Fast fashion replicates new season styles and trends, pumping out cheap garments that are made to be worn until the next trend comes along. Thanks largely to fast fashion, our appetite for new clothes sees more than 100 billion garments produced each year around the world – more than double what was manufactured in the year 2000. Of the textiles made each year, 85% end up in landfills or are incinerated. To put the maths another way, the world is buying 60% more clothing but keeping them half as long. The Global Fashion Agenda is the world’s leading forum on sustainable fashion and, based on current trends, they predict our consumption of apparel will skyrocket 63% to 102m tonnes by 2030.
Going by those statistics, we need to keep fabrics out of landfills, and we need to find creative ways to do it. It can start at home. Kids crafts, for example, where younger children use fabrics as their main medium, along with anything ranging from cardboard to glue sticks, to stickers. Older kids and adults may want to add textile art to the painting and drawing they usually do. The possibilities are endless. Instead of buying impersonal greeting cards, how about attaching thread and fabric bits to blank cards? Or create fabric gift wrap? Putting colourful fabric trimmings into jars and using them as a display? Or sewing pieces of fabric together and stuffing it with even more old fabric to make cushions? There are so many online resources with brilliant ways on how to use up what we no longer wear. No shortage of ideas – and no shortage of raw material either.
Of course, to make a difference, it will require a whole lot of people buying craft supplies and completing projects using fabric all around the world. But if it represents the start of a rethink about how we treat old fabrics and the impact of textiles in landfills, then it is a fashionable trend well worth promoting.