Plastic Free Clothing: How To Make The Switch To Natural Fiber Clothing
Clothes should make you feel comfortable in your own skin, physically and figuratively. But with so many plastics found in today’s clothes, it can be a challenge to find garments made from real, natural fibers.
It’s time to make a lasting commitment to plastic-free clothing and leave the man-made chemical compounds in the rearview mirror.
Let’s go over some tips on how to make the transition from plastic-packed clothing to natural fiber alternatives, so you can fill your closet with clothes that are healthy for your body, your mind, and the environment.
Why Plastic-Free Clothing Is Important
If you or anyone close to you has ever made the switch to a vegetarian and vegan diet, you’ll know that environmental and personal health are usually the reasons behind the decision.
The same factors come into play when making the switch away from plastic-free clothing, including some other considerations like working conditions and wages.
From an environmental standpoint, synthetic materials are simply not good for our planet, no matter which way you cut it. Multinational fast fashion companies rely on large production facilities to produce millions of garments with artificial materials, using fossil fuels like gas and petroleum to manufacture at scale.
Not only do these factories burn tons of fuel to make their clothes, but they also pump out considerable amounts of pollution and toxic waste into the surrounding environment.
While practices have improved drastically in the past decade or so, many companies still skirt around regulations and send harmful materials into the air and water sources nearby. Whether it’s a stream, lake, ocean, forest, or even the local water supply, there are always concerns about how these dangerous byproducts are disposed of.
By making a commitment to natural fabrics like linens, cotton, and bamboo, you can do your small part in reducing the amount of carbon and toxic waste put out into the environment.
You also need to look out for your own health and wellbeing, which means avoiding wearing synthetic fibers whenever possible.
Many of us are allergic to human-made materials like polyester, polyurethane, nylon, and spandex and experience irritation on the skin as a result of prolonged exposure. Even if you don’t see a contact reaction to these products, you may be internalizing dangerous chemicals in the long run, so it’s best to minimize that risk sooner than later.
To become the healthiest, happiest version of yourself, you may want to leave those synthetic materials behind, even if it means retiring some of your favorite garments.
Finally, plastic-based clothing tends to have negative consequences for workers in the short term and broader implications for the health of the economy at large.
The larger and more dominant the company, the more likely it is to leverage cheap labor overseas and rely on exploitative practices to turn bigger profits. This can mean unsafe working conditions, long hours without breaks, and low wages that keep people in poverty.
By making the switch to plastic-free clothing, you are more likely to support regional farmers that produce natural materials and make it easier for laborers to earn a living wage in your own country. This balances the economy and shifts the focus toward sustainability, away from the unethical practices of fast fashion.
It’s important that you assess the full spectrum of plastic-based clothing, so you understand the issues from every angle. The health of the environment, your personal well-being, and the strength of your regional economy are all at stake.
Make Your Current Clothes Last
So you’ve decided it’s time to leave the plastic clothing behind, but there are a few things to keep in mind when making the transition to natural fibers.
First of all, you’ll want to make the most of the clothes you already own, so enjoy them for as long as you can and don’t feel bad about it. Since most synthetics don’t break down naturally, you want to keep them in circulation rather than throwing them in the trash.
Once it comes time to retire those clothes, however, you’re going to want to give them away to charity or dump them in a donation box. Don’t dispose of these items in the garbage bin since they can still benefit someone, somewhere.
Ask around your family and friend group to see if anyone may be interested in taking your unwanted clothes or research ways to donate them.
If you think your garments aren’t fit for donation, look into local recycling options in your city, or figure out a way to make those materials useful for another purpose. You may need to individually sort out garments by composition, but that extra bit of effort will give you peace of mind knowing you did the right thing.
There’s always some way to make those fabrics last longer, even if they end up as a dishrag or as a towel to shine the wheels of your car. Think outside the box, and you’ll come up with some inventive solutions!
Pick Clothes That Feel And Look Good
Eventually, you will say goodbye to the bulk of your clothes with synthetic materials and treat yourself to a shopping spree for more sustainable options.
It’s important that you replace those clothes with garments that you will actually wear and that complement your fashion and lifestyle. Don’t just buy clothes because they check all the boxes of ethical production— choose clothes because they look and feel good as well. This will ensure you commit to this change for the long term rather than return to the synthetics.
While it’s easy to find linen and cotton clothing that can be worn casually, things get trickier when you need athleisure and activewear that holds up in the gym or during your home workout routine. Most clothes that feature moisture-wicking technology and cooling effects are made from mainly synthetic materials, so you’ll be left with fewer choices.
However, more companies are turning to materials like bamboo to achieve the stretchy, soft, and breathable feel that is so important when you work up a sweat and need to stay cool.
Bamboo fabrics are not only 100% chemical and plastic-free, but they also feel amazing on your skin and keep you operating at peak performance, no matter what athletic pursuits you choose.
Even folks who have allergic issues with polyester and nylon say that bamboo fabrics are much easier on the skin and allow them to enjoy athletic wear that would otherwise be out of the equation. Odor-fighting abilities, UV protection, and thermal regulation are just a few extra features you can enjoy by switching to bamboo fabric clothing.
Expect to find a full range of athleisure clothes made from natural materials like bamboo, as well as plenty of vests, jackets, sweaters, wraps, and even dresses. You don’t need to sacrifice performance, comfort, or fashion by making the switch to plastic-free clothes.
By taking the time to research and spending a bit more on the basics, you’ll find yourself enjoying natural fabric clothing more than you expected and keep them in the rotation for much longer than usual.
Support Ethical, Sustainable Producers
Any effort to move away from synthetic fibers to natural fabric clothing should be applauded, but unfortunately, many companies are not completely transparent with their practices and could be taking advantage of our inclination to make a positive impact on the world.
When selecting a brand to buy from, steer clear of the big-box “fast fashion” companies that have become notorious for shady ethics and business practices. You can do a few quick Google searches to discover which ones are more notorious than others.
Instead, take the time to research smaller, regional companies that have made a commitment to sustainability and broadcast their ethical approach to production and distribution. Look for fair-trade certifications, cruelty-free symbols, and other indications of good practices.
Not only do these companies have more transparent and ethical production methods, but they are also more likely to give you better treatment, customer service, and loyalty rewards. Moving away from fast fashion isn’t just good for your health and the environment; it’s also beneficial for your wallet and well-being in the long run.
Whether you shop online or enjoy the in-person buying experience, get familiar with brands that are doing the right thing, and be a part of the sustainable revolution by saying yes to plastic-free clothing.
We’ve become so accustomed to wearing synthetic materials over the years that many of us have been desensitized to its effects. Once you wake up and see the reality of the situation, the choice becomes clear: plastic-free clothing is the only way forward.
Make sure you orchestrate a clean and conscious decision to move away from synthetic materials and only purchase real, natural fabric clothing from companies you trust on a personal level. Your body, your mind, and the environment will thank you!