We’re all asked to conserve energy, not only because it reduces our monthly electricity bill but also because the less we use the less we need to generate. Power in New Brunswick is mainly sourced from “clean” technologies like hydroelectric dams, but this isn’t the case in other parts of the world. Coal, oil and gas powered plants generate power for millions of homes, while at the same time polluting our air with harmful emissions.
One of the biggest consumers of energy in the world is the textile industry. As with water, the industry uses large amounts of energy to produce the garments we see in clothing stores all over the world.
Most everyone owns or has owned a pair of jeans, but few would realize how much energy it took to produce that pair of jeans. According to Value Village, who compiled statistics on the subject, a single pair of jeans requires 400 mega joules of electricity to be completed in the production process. The same pair of jeans is responsible for 71 pounds of carbon dioxide. Six out of 10 people surveyed feel that it takes more energy to leave the lights on overnight than to make a pair of jeans. Shocking numbers.
The same Value Village report also says that 30% of those surveyed hang on to their clothing for less than two years. This fast turnover of our clothing results in an increased demand, and with that comes an increase in demand for energy usage and more generation needs.
What can we do to slow this trend and reduce our global energy usage? Re-using clothing is a great start. As a society we already throw away vast quantities of clothing rather than donating it for re-use by others. Most people throw clothing away, simply because it’s easier than donating it. We need to do better.
You can easily drop bags of used clothing or small household items at any of the New Brunswick Association for Community Living’s (NBACL’s) Big Orange Bins (BOBs) found in communities around New Brunswick. To find one near you, simply visit nbacl.nb.ca/ccp.
To make donating even easier, NBACL also offers a free pick up service for donated items. Simply visit the website, fill out the “Request a Pickup” online form, and NBACL will look after this rest.
Donating used clothing and small household items to NBACL supports people in your community. Through our partnership with Value Village, all proceeds paid to NBACL from the collection of donated items goes directly back into our programs which support those in our province with an intellectual or developmental disability—your friends and neighbours. It’s a win-win for the environment and for people who really need our support.