Change the World – Change your Behaviour
During the winter semester of 2017, I was a member of Seneca’s textile diversion team. Together with our professor, Sabine Weber we developed a social marketing campaign for students to raise awareness about textile waste and to change how they dispose of their unwanted garments. The goal of this project, is to apply our social marketing campaign developed at Seneca to high schools. The first phase of the campaign will raise awareness about the topic with educational posters. Next, I will conduct activities to engage students. For example: our textile diversion team has developed interactive games, which I can use for school-wide awareness events. Those events will include clothing swaps, and used clothing drives with the goal to divert textiles from landfills, and to change fashion consumption habits.
I want to empower schools to create action and awareness around the consumption and disposal of clothing. This is important because it is estimated that in North America about 85% of all textiles and clothing end up in landfills contributing to climate change (Council for Textile Recycling 2014). Likewise, a study of Norwegian women found that as much as 13 percent of their total wardrobe was dedicated to clothing that had never been worn (Klepp, 2001). To make the fashion industry more sustainable, we need to change consumption patterns, and we need to get textiles diverted from landfill. For instance, by organizing swap events, I can show that experiencing the joy of fashion does not necessarily require new clothing. We can have the same fun with used garments, but with much lower environmental impact. According to a study from the University of Copenhagen in 2008, 2.2 lbs. of clothes diverted from landfill for reuse saves 9 lbs. of CO2 emissions. With this project, we can actively help to combat climate change.
The impact of my project can be measured by the textiles that the schools will gather during the used clothing drive and with the attention that will be created on social media. I want to roll out this program in the last two weeks of September 2018.
We can associate with companies that buy those collected textiles by the pound and the money can be used by participating high schools to fundraise for other activities at the school, generating a high interest to participate in this project. My goal is to visit five to ten schools and try to make this a competition between them to bring more visibility and engagement to the project.