Make back-to-school shopping sustainable | Guest Column

With the start of school comes football season, new teachers and a back-to-school shopping list. Before darting out to the store to pick up new clothing and supplies, take a moment to revisit the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle.

You already use the 3Rs on a daily basis by recycling all bottles, cans and paper. Decisions about back-to-school clothing provide the perfect opportunity to put the 3Rs to work and step up the sustainability in your household!

• Reduce – Rummage through your kids’ closets and see what you have on hand. The greenest back-to-school clothes are the ones you already have! Make a list of items you already own and only purchase what’s needed.

• Reuse – Instead of purchasing new clothes, shop first at the neighborhood second-hand store. You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck and find one-of-a-kind items! Better yet, consider a swap. Check with neighbors and friends and to see if you can trade clothing, shoes and backpacks.

• Recycle – Clothing that’s no longer needed can by donated for reuse and recycling. All clothing, even torn, worn or stained items that are no longer in usable condition can be recycled. Only textiles that are wet or mildewed belong in the garbage.

By putting the 3Rs to work, we can reduce the environmental impact of back-to-school shopping in ways that add up. The difference we can make, together, is clear when you consider the big picture: Americans throw away more than 70 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Clothing manufacturing requires precious natural resources including water, energy and land. It also generates pollution, and the EPA estimates that diverting all of the textiles that are currently being thrown away would reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly. In fact, it would have the same effect as taking 7.3 million cars off the road.

Learn more about clothing recycling by visiting King County’s Threadcycle website: http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/ecoconsumer/threadcycle.asp.

This year, let’s embrace back to school as a time to start new routines that make real and lasting change in our community and for the environment. Sustainable clothing is always in style!

Michelle Metzler is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager.

More in Opinion

The next generation | Letter

Did you know that 50 percent of all lifetime causes of mental… Continue reading

The winners and losers of the mid-terms

The highs and lows from Tuesday’s election.

Looming taxes continue to burden property owners | Letter

Looming taxes continue to burden property owners In the City Council’s committee… Continue reading

What happens when we believe | Windows and Mirrors

How an unlikely group of teenagers achieved success through the support of their community.

Give the gift of a future | Letter

Give your friends and family the best gift you could give them:… Continue reading

When we ban books | Windows and Mirrors

What message does it send when certain stories are censored?

Kavanaugh should be rejected / Letters

I find Republican caviling at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings baffling. For just… Continue reading

Trump should stand up for public lands / Letter

When Donald Trump was elected president, sportsmen had high hopes that the… Continue reading

I am going all in on Initiative 1631 / Guest column

By Mark Vossler, MD Guest Column As a physician, few things are… Continue reading

Offer your input at city council budget hearing on Oct. 16 / Letters

With all the local government spending to end homelessness, why is there… Continue reading

Funding sources for Downtown Park | Letter

n the environment that we are living in, all too often truth… Continue reading

Sammamish River Trail deserves attention | Letter

I have to add my agreement to the letter last month from… Continue reading