1) Wash your clothes less:
Laundry day is typically one of the most dreaded days of the week, but it’s sometimes one of the most NEEDED chores in the house. So, what if we told you that putting your laundry off for longer is actually kinder to the ocean? Researchers have proposed that just ONE LOAD of laundry could release hundreds of thousands of microfibers into the water supply, eventually reaching the ocean. In fact, our laundry releases 500,000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year. That’s the equivalent of 50 BILLION plastic bottles. Adding to it all, in 2017, a report from the INTERNATION UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE (IUCN) found that 35% of all microplastics in the ocean came from washing synthetic materials like polyester, which do not break down in the ocean.
Simply asking yourself “Can this be worn one more time?” or “Are these jeans REALLY dirty?” before throwing them in the wash bin can help reduce the number of unneeded microfibers floating in the ocean. We have all had moments where something gets washed that doesn’t really need to be.
But what about those clothes that DO need to get washed? The workout clothes, the ketchup-stained t-shirts, or the blouse tragically covered in spit-up? Many sources suggest using a LAUNDRY BALL, to catch all the microfibers coming off of your clothes, so you can dispose of the fibers properly. Bonus? Laundry balls prevent your clothes from breaking down, so your clothes will last longer!
2) Switch to sustainably manufactured materials:
Did you know that polyester is found in an estimated 60% of all garments and does not break down in the ocean? Producing polyester releases two to three times MORE carbon emissions than cotton? No offense to polyester, but this one fabric causes a lot of problems for our earth, and especially our oceans. So, if polyester is everywhere – what can you do?
While a lot of synthetic fabrics are harmful to our oceans, there are some that are pretty sustainable. Case in point: Lyocell. Thanks to science, Lyocell is made with bamboo cellulose, which allows 99% of the chemicals used to create Lyocell to be recycled! Plus, this fabric is produced in a closed system using previously manufactured material waste. That means Lyocell can be repeatedly recycled throughout its lifetime and made into other garment types.
Can’t find Lyocell? Next time you are out shopping, look for organic cotton, or more natural materials like linen. Want bonus points? Shop for clothes that are unbleached, or undyed.
3) Make your clothes last longer:
3.8 billion pounds of clothes are thrown out each year by Americans alone. Yeah, JUST Americans. It’s no question we all live in a throw-away culture. We buy a shirt for $3, wear it once, and throw it out. And we get it, it’s hard NOT to buy the $3 t-shirt, especially when someone else is trying to sell the exact same thing for $20, $50, $70.
Here’s the thing – if we focused a little more on what we need in our closets, and less on what we want to wear for the latest season, we could drastically reduce the number of clothes thrown away each year. (Plus, if you keep your clothes nicer, for longer, you’ll get more money for them at Kid to Kid 😉.)
So, next time you think “I need a new pair of shoes,” take a look in your closet and assess what you actually need. If there are things you need to get rid of, donate or sell what you can to your local Kid to Kid or Uptown Cheapskate to give your clothes another chance in someone else’s closets
4) Pick a different laundry detergent:
We hate to keep picking on your laundry routine, but switching out your laundry detergent is a great way to keep hazardous chemicals out of the ocean. Nonylphenol ethoxylates and other chemicals used to make detergents are toxic to marine life, harming coral reefs, and even fish we catch and eat.
YIKES. Obviously, laundry detergent is kind of like Shampoo; when you find one you like, you tend to stick to it. So, if you’re someone who has finally found a detergent you love – use your own discretion in switching out. However, if you are interested in learning about more eco-friendly washing methods head HERE.
5) Shop secondhand (aka, Kid to Kid):
Here is where we come in! We know there is no perfect solution to climate change and ocean pollution. But we DO know that extending the life of your kids’ clothes, shoes, toys, and other stuff like strollers, and bikes can help keep unnecessary waste out of the ocean.
So, for World Ocean’s Day, come to Kid to Kid to Buy, Sell, and SAVE (the ocean, and your money).
P.S. – Download this digital World Ocean’s Day coloring page (print it out, or color on your tablet to save paper), and talk to your kids about how important our oceans are. Oceans produce 50-80% of our oxygen, support 94% of wildlife on earth, and absorb huge amounts of CO2, which is one of the major contributors to climate change.
Happy World Oceans Day