Monday, January 2, 2012
Last year I was surprised to learn that each household in America generates 68 pounds of textile waste. 68 pounds! This amounts to 12 million tons annually! As much as 5 - 10% of the material in the average landfill is textile waste, depending on the municipality. Many may say, " Where's the problem in that? Doesn't fabric break down?". Well, frankly, no. Many fabrics take hundreds of
years, if not more, to break down in a landfill. Some synthetics may never really break down, while others leach dyes and chemicals into the ground as they decompose.
And yet, textiles are among the most easily re-usable and recyclable materials found in the average household. First, of course, these materials can be donated to charity for re-use as clothing, or torn up and used as household rags, but for the home sewist they represent a treasure trove of fabrics to be
remade into the garments of tomorrow.
Home sewing is often touted as an economical activity. However, it can actually be quite expensive if you buy all new materials from the big box fabric store for your project. Next time you sit down to plan a sewing project, consider harvesting your fabric from older clothing, from old sheets or table linens that are slated for discard. Even if you do not have a stockpile of these fabrics, you can acquire these more cheaply than full price fabric by haunting your thrift shop, going to garage and estate sales, and simply being alert to discards of neighbors and friends. Let's all resolve to keep a little of our 68 pounds out of the landfill!
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