Impressionable youngsters should be taught about the dangers of consumerism and the impact of our wasteful society, a Catholic environmentalist has suggested.
Ellen Teague, of the Columban Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, has called on society to tackle its “throw-away culture”, recommending consumerism as the starting point.
Her call comes in response to warnings that Brits are throwing away £12.5 billion of wearable clothes every year.
“I would say Britain has a throw-away culture generally,” Mrs Teague told The Universe.
She pointed out that Pope Francis had blamed the widespread degradation of the natural environment and disregard for human life on an increasingly common ‘throw-away culture’ and had condemned wasteful consumerism in Laudato Si’ in 2015.
A recent study carried out by global stain remover market leader Vanish as part of its ‘#LoveforLonger’ campaign found that 51 per cent of adults admit to throwing good clothes away.
Twelve per cent said clothes simply feel old after you wear them a handful of times. In fact, the study found that a new piece of clothing becomes old in the eyes of Brits after just 20 wears, and on average, 50 days.
The study found 45 per cent of Brits have the best intentions, bagging up clothes to take to charity shops, but then end up discarding them. However, 59 per cent of those said throwing them directly in the bin was the easiest way without the hassle of visiting the charity shop. According to the report, Brits spend an average of £92 a month on new clothes but typically only wear around 46 per cent of their wardrobe.
A staggering 90 per cent of the 1,500 respondents felt that society had adopted a throw-away culture when it comes to fashion and clothing.
“What we need to work on more is reducing consumerism and that is difficult, especially for young people,” Mrs Teague told The Universe.
“Education work on trade justice, for example, can help young people understand the true costs of their clothes Green Christian’s initiative ‘Joy in Enough’ offers an exciting new way of working towards a less affluent but better quality of life,” she said.
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Picture: Clothes hang on a washing line. (Anthony Devlin/PA).