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Give a second life to clothes.

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Adopting initiatives to reduce your carbon footprint – that is to say your impact on greenhouse gas emissions (and more generally on the environment) – can easily be done gradually, starting by simple actions. Apart from sorting your rubbish, changing your transport habits (even partially) and reducing your energy consumption, it is also possible – and very simple! – to give a second life to your personal belongings, starting with your clothing.

Clothing waste has an underestimated impact!

We hear a lot about food waste these days but there is a real problem with clothing waste. Did you know that out of the 5 million tonnes of clothing put on the market in Europe each year, almost 4 million tonnes of new or used textiles are thrown away? In France, 70% of discarded clothes end up in landfills. The clothing sector thus ranks second in the world in terms of environmental impact.

The fashion industry generates 21 times more greenhouse gas emissions than all international flights and maritime transport combined.

20% of industrial pollution of water worldwide is attributable to dyeing and textile processing.

Indeed, the textile industry relies mainly on non-renewable resources: oil to produce synthetic fibres, fertilizers to grow cotton, and chemicals to produce dyeing and finishes for fibres and textiles. (source: A New Textiles Economy :  Redesigning Fashion’s Future ).

 

Concerning the Principality itself, incinerated textiles in Monaco represent 11.6% of waste tonnage and 10% of GHG emissions from waste. It is therefore the second source of waste emissions after plastic and ahead of all the rest (cardboard, metal, paper, glass, etc.), probably because of the content of synthetic fibres.

 

There are several solutions to combat such waste

 

Firstly, do not throw clothes in the bin: even torn or dirty clothes can be recycled. What can you do with textile items you no longer want to keep? You have several possibilities:

  • You can sell them: very often, the fashion articles we purchase are not worn more than a dozen times. It is possible to sell them on platforms specialised in second-hand items, at events like “shop my closet” parties, or at second-hand shops.
  • You can give them to charities: for clothes in good condition that are dry and free from holes and stains, this is a generous and ecological solution. In Monaco, like elsewhere, many associations collect clothes, shoes and household linen. The most suitable clothes for everyday use are then redistributed to the needy at local/regional level and also in the countries these associations aid through their work. Dressier and more exceptional clothes (designer brands, evening dresses, suits, etc.) are often kept by many associations to be sold at jumble sales, the income from which is then used to finance other humanitarian actions.
  • You can give them for recycling: some French collection points indicate that they also recycle clothing. Notably, containers displaying the Eco TLC label , a private non-profit company accredited by the State that guarantees responsible processing of deposited clothes e.g. those in good condition are given to the needy, while the others are recycled. Several containers are accessible in neighbouring municipalities, notably in Beausoleil. It is also possible to go to the SMA (Société Monégasque d'Assainissement - Monegasque sanitation company).

 To help you in your efforts to give a second life to your clothes, the Mission for Energy Transition has prepared this map of the various collection points available in the Principality and neighbouring municipalities. If you know of other ones, do not hesitate to inform us by writing to transition-energetique@gouv.mc  

Recycling your clothes by selling them on, donating or recycling them is therefore above all about helping reduce the amount of waste that results from this consumption. This also helps preserve natural resources and limit pollution. It is also essential to adopt sustainable solutions: more responsible consumption of fashion articles is a complementary effort you could make. To counteract disposable fashion, buy less but more thoughtfully by prioritising textile quality over the quantity of clothing you put in your wardrobes.

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