When you sign up for an event such as Coastrek, it can be tempting to feel you have to go and buy a whole bunch of new hiking gear. But while that may make you feel more comfortable, it's not ideal for the planet, or your wallet! Simon Webster from sustainable apparel brand Tscudo gives us some great tips to ensure you have everything you need for Coastrek without sacrificing the earth.
The problem with the textile industry
On average, Aussies purchase 27 kilos of new clothes and throw out 23 kilos of old clothes every year. 23 kilos. That's like your entire luggage for your trip overseas. It's probably so heavy you moan when you realise you have to lug it up the stairs.
On a national scale, Australians throw away around 6,000kg of textiles every 10 minutes. In fact, Australia is the second largest consumer of textiles per capita in the world, second only to the United States. And in 2018 Australian textiles generated close to 1 million tonnes of waste.
It's a big problem, with a simple solution. Buy less.
Buy less, buy better
The idea around buy less, buy better means purchasing fewer items of better quality and enjoying them for longer. Not only does this help reduce the amount of textile waste going to landfill, but higher quality items often have more sustainable supply chains, so you're casting a vote with your wallet towards a greener future.
This also ends up being cheaper in the long run, and you get to enjoy a more beautiful item as well. So, how do we do this?
Borrow from friends
Borrowing gear from friends and family is the best way to reduce your impact, especially if you're going to use the item rarely. If you have mates who are into outdoorsy stuff, hit them up! Ideal items to borrow are those that are one-size-fits-most, such as raincoats, backpacks, trekking poles and headtorches. They only item I wouldn't borrow off a friend is shoes!
Swap or buy secondhand
Another alternative to buying new is to search for gear on consumer-to-consumer resale networks such as eBay, FB marketplace, Gumtree or start a local group sharing product with others participating in similar events.
Some sustainable brands such as Patagonia also have websites where you can puchase pre-loved items.
Look for longevity
It’s important when looking for new trekking gear to look for quality and longevity in a garment. Look for clothing that is functional and multipurpose. For example, the right lightweight, waterproof, breathable jacket can be used for Coastrek, overseas travel and even winter skiing when layered correctly. This will allow you to wear and use clothes longer. Statistically, only 55 percent of our wardrobe is worn regularly with 10 percent worn once or not at all. But collectively wearing our clothes twice as long can reduce our environmental impact by 44 percent.
Choose brands that put sustainability first
There are heaps of amazing brands that put sustainability front and centre at all stages of the design process. Do your research and invest in brands that take care of the planet.
We must remember the environment is a shared responsibility for all of us. Our choices and our habits, no matter how small, largely impact the environment and our planets future. There is nothing wrong with purchasing new clothing, but we need to pay special attention to what we are buying and why. Focus on brands with a sustainable purpose and brands choosing sustainable methods when it comes to producing products and focusing on a circular economy for the product they produce.
Tscudo are a proud supporter of Coastrek.