Who's hitting up summer sales? I'm not a big shopper, but I do love a bargain, and this time of year is a great time to clean out the closet, take stock of what needs replaced, and go out on a spree. In a previous post, I suggested shopping used, as re-using a product has almost no virtual water impact. However, inevitably, we’re all going to need to buy new clothes at some point (where else would those used clothes come from?) So, I’ve included below a handy chart of various common clothing items, and their virtual water impact. May you use this as a reference in your shopping excursions!
Note that the calculations below may not include the virtual water associated with shipping and transportation. Generally speaking, buying American-made products will be greener than buying imported items that must be shipped, and use water-intensive gasoline in transit.
Pair of Boxer Shorts – 252 gallons (wouldn’t want to buy these used!)
Cotton Dress Shirt – 766 gallons
Jeans – 2,866 gallons
Leather Jacket – 7,996 gallons
Leather Shoes – 4,400 gallons
Rayon Dress – 1,981 gallons
Tennis Shoes – 1,247 gallons
T-Shirt – 569 gallons
Women’s underwear – 86 gallons
Obviously, unless we all become nudists, we’re going to keep buying clothes. And I have no intention of going full nudist! So, besides making smart buying decisions in terms of what we buy, let's also look at how we use what we’ve already bought. Heavier materials can be worn more times without being washed, which means they’ll last longer and will save on water via fewer laundry loads. Buying higher-quality items of clothing will help you not need to shop around as often. Use accessories to update an old outfit rather than replacing your wardrobe on a regular basis. And finally, learn to sew so that you don’t need to replace your clothes just because they get minor rips or tears.
Hope these tips helped, and happy shopping!