The Metro Vancouver-wide organics waste diversion initiative has actively raised awareness of the fact that "food isn't garbage" and we all need to help keep it out of the landfill. The same could be said of pre-loved clothing. Textile recycling is considered an essential, but often overlooked, step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the load in the landfill. Although estimates vary, it's believed that every year, the average Canadian sends approximately 7 kg of clothing to the landfill--much of it still in wearable condition.
Last year, student members of Windsor Secondary's Green Team began discussing the issue of the fashion industry's carbon footprint. Recognizing the popularity of fast fashion (which often has a short life cycle before winding up in the landfill) with youth, the Team decided to host a Spring clothing swap of old, and not-so-old, clothing donated by staff and students.
Teacher-sponsor Megan Mcewen’s classroom was set up as the site of the swap meet, with tables displaying items organized into the categories of men’s, women’s, shoes and accessories. This no-cost event, organized by a handful of Green Team members, kept some 50-75 pieces out of the landfill and spiffing up the style of new wearers. Remainders were donated to the local chapter of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver.
Education and promotion of responsible consumerism are fixed goals of Windsor’s Green Team, which has also held recycling drives and led the way in organics waste diversion at the school. Up next: the club will host its sixth-annual Community Cleanup, which encourages classes to collect garbage and recyclables in the Blueridge and Seymour areas.
If you missed this year's swap, no worries, the Team plans to "recycle" this great idea again in future years.
Photos by Stephen Juwono.