Ordinarily I would have rolled my eyes at anyone who mentioned or participated in New Year's resolutions, but I’ve now had two which have had surprisingly positive results.
The first, in 2018, was to “live more sustainably” which led me to create my own business, Banish.
The second was to stop buying clothes for a year (which turned into two).
Watch: 7 eco-friendly habits that aren't so green... Post continues below.
I know to stop sounds quite dramatic - I could have opted to shop sustainably or only buy secondhand. But when I did my research and found that the average Australian woman wears just one third of their wardrobe, I thought maybe if I just actually wore the other two thirds I wouldn’t need to hit the shops.
Let’s paint the scene: it’s 2018, pre-COVID. I'm working for one of Australia’s leading magazine publishers, have a full calendar of social occasions (birthdays, weddings etc) and a buzzing social life.
I can’t wear activewear every day, like I have for most of 2021.
Full disclosure - I wasn’t a huge fan of shopping before I took on this New Year's Resolution, but I would always wear something different to work. I was easily swayed into a bargain and would often troll online shopping sites mindlessly for hours.
Step one was unsubscribing from all of the fashion brands in my inbox - out of sight, out of mind.
Then I cleansed: I looked into the depths of my cupboard at what I would actually wear and collected a garbage bag full of unwanted clothes. Every 10 minutes in Australia, 6,000kg of clothing is thrown in the bin.
So when I popped them in the trunk of my car and was ready to head to my local Vinnies, I thought I’d do a quick research into where the clothes we thoughtlessly discard go.
Turns out only 10 to 20 per cent of the clothes donated actually make it to the shelves for resale. The rest end up in landfill or sent back to Ghana (this ABC report is worth a read.)
So a second cull happened - everything that was A+ quality and had a good recognisable brand name went to Vinnies, the rest I sent to Upparel, an Australian textile recycler that shreds and turns clothing into couches and so much more.