Ripped Jeans

We should care about where our clothes have come from. So many of my clothes are made out of polyester that is derived from petroleum. Ekk, sounds gross! I prefer to buy cotton but it can take over 2500L to produce enough cotton for just one t-shirt. (Should we just go naked?)

We should care about where our clothes go once we get rid of them. The average Australian throws out 30kg of clothing and textiles each year. Only 10% of the clothes charities are given gets resold.

My partner bought two new pairs of jeans the other month. When he brought them home I looked up the brand on my ethical app (because I am annoying like that).

“This brand gets an F! Why didn’t you go to the shop you normally get them from? They get a C!” I said to him. If only I could control EVERYTHING. (Also this brand is on Oxfams Naughty List, at the time I did not know that).

Two weeks later one pair of his new jeans ripped. The fact they ripped was not a problem. He wears jeans everyday, they all eventually rip. I was angry because they ripped so freaking quickly. The receipt conveniently went missing so there was no returning them.

Ripped Jeans Clothing Sustainability Sustayable Me
Ripped Jeans

I refuse to throw out something that can be easily mended. 5% of household waste is clothes – I read that on the internet somewhere so it must be true. I did what I always do now when jeans rip. I got out the sewing machine and did a dodgy patch up job on them. No one sees the part where it rips anyway.

Sewing skills! The jeans are mended and ready for more butt action.
Sewing skills! The jeans are mended and ready for more butt action.

I mend clothes for three reasons. First it saves money. You can get a lot more wear out of a piece of clothing and you don’t have to go out and replace it…. yet. Second, it is the only time I ever use my sewing machine. If I didn’t mend clothes that baby would just sit and collect dust. It needs to feel loved every now and then. Third and most importantly, throwing out clothes is so wasteful. If something needs mending you can’t exactly donate it. The clothes have to end up somewhere, most likely in the bin. I’ve thrown clothes in the bin before. I won’t do it again though.

You could reuse clothes and turn them into rags, which would be ideal, but I already have lots of rags. Now you can also recycle clothes easily. H&M and Uniqlo stores have recycling bins in their stores. Hurrah for multinational fast fashion companies, aren’t they the best? (They are not by the way, in case my sarcasm did not come across in text. The fashion industry is the second worst industry in terms of environmental damage. Oil is the number one bad guy.)

What matters more than reusing and recycling clothes is my other favourite R word. Reduce. Apparently, people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. We don’t need the latest fashion trends. We don’t need to add to our wardrobes each season.

I stopped buying so many clothes for selfish reasons – so I could save some money! More importantly I stopped buying so many clothes because fast fashion is an evil turd from more than one viewpoint – workers rights, animal rights and the environment.

It is almost the end of the year and that means resolutions for the following year, you know, the ones you never keep (I AM going to lose 20kg!).

My New Year resolution for 2017 is to do no fast fashion shopping. (Fast fashion pretty much refers to any chain clothing stores etc). I can buy second-hand clothes and my baby can have gorgeous hand me downs from her cousin. I am also allowing myself to buy new clothes from ethical companies.

This post is just the tip of the iceberg about clothing waste and ethical clothing. If you would like more information I have included some links.

If you love Netflix then watch The True Cost Docu-movie. If you love TED talks then watch How To Engage With Ethical Fashion. If you love podcasts then listen to Ethical Fashion with Mel Tually. If you love reading check out I Haven’t a Thing to Wear and finally if you are a website junky then visit Fashion Revolution.

Thanks for reading!


Something Is Fishy

Years ago my friend and I were getting fish and chips. We were on the South Coast, NSW, Australia. I remember her telling me she was going to buy and eat blackfish because it was locally caught and a sustainable option. “Good for you”, I thought. I bought the blackfish too and since then I have had it every time I go to that takeaway place.

Fishing Sustayable Me
We have to buy fish because we don’t seem to ever catch any.

As for the rest of the seafood I eat, I have been really slack lately. I know overfishing is a huge problem. I teach my students that. I know conserving fish species is really important to help protect marine ecosystems. I am awesome at drawing food webs and I teach my students to consider the impact of a changing one species population number on the rest of the food web.

Unfortunately I have let convenience and price determine what seafood I buy. I have pushed seafood sustainability to the back of my mind. I want my canned tuna and I want it now! But that is going to change. I need to change it.

Well over 30% of global fish populations are overfished. Some fishing practices are really dodgy too, like the ones that involve bycatch (this means other marine animals may be caught, apart from just the species intended to be fished.) There are 17 different ocean fishing zones around the world. Every single one of them is over exploited. 13 of them are becoming or are already depleted. There are certain types of fish that everyone seems intent on only eating – tuna, salmon, shark and prawns. We don’t actually intend to eat shark but when we buy fish and chips it is normally what is served up.  

Australia’s fishing industry is actually pretty good. It’s regulation and management makes it one of the best in the world. Awesome, go Australia! But 70% of the seafood we buy is imported, mostly from Asia. I know I currently buy all of my seafood at the supermarket (shame!). If you look at the signs on the chilled fish at the counter it tells you where the fish came from. Some of it is from Australia but a lot of it comes from Vietnam, China etc. I bet it would really difficult to find a frozen, processed or canned seafood product in the supermarket that contains seafood from Australia.

Do you think this sounds bad too? Are you wondering what we can do? Well I am no expert and I am not going to tell you what to do, but I will tell you what I am personally going to do.

I am going to stop eating seafood.

Just kidding. I’m not going to stop because when I eat seafood it makes me think that I’m healthy and I don’t feel as bad for eating a block of chocolate. Go Omega 3!

I know I should stop eating seafood because the reality is that seafood is not a sustainable food option at all, but I am going to take baby steps. Here are some things I am prepared to do as of now:

  • If I buy a can of tuna I’m going to look for skipjack tuna because it is a less exploited species. I am going to avoid yellow fin tuna. I’m going to look for pole and line caught tuna and something that says FAD free on the can. (FAD = fish aggregating device).
  • I’m going to try to eat more local seafood and less important seafood. For me this means looking for Australian seafood.
  • If I’m getting fish and chips, or eating at a restaurant, I’m going to choose more sustainable choices. I hear whiting, silver perch, sardines, flathead and barramundi are good options. If the seafood isn’t labelled I am going to ask what is it and where it came from. I am going to avoid eating flake (shark).
  • I am going to use the Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide app to help me make better choices.

I know I am just one individual (one little fish in the big ocean), but if we all start making more informed decisions when buying seafood we can send a message. To the supermarkets, to the restaurants, to the wholesalers etc. Also, I am a role model and I can educate Bub. Bub is going to be Prime Minister and change the world. Overfishing will be the first problem she solves. No pressure Bub.

Sustainable Tuna Sustayable Me
Look what I already had in my pantry. I am totally rocking this!