Ways To Help The Environmental Waste Problem

This course being about wicked problems has really opened my eyes about the many problems we face in society that can’t necessarily be fixed. It really made me want to contribute and do my part to make the world more sustainable. At the rate the world is at right now, were looking into destroying the world. The goal of the wicked problems course was to help students be more compassionate about wicked problems around the world and make them want to contribute to helping if they don’t already. Although there aren’t specific ways to solve a wicked problem, there are ways us as consumers can help out. My goals leaving this course are to keep in mind that there are many problems surrounding me, so why not pay more attention to them and help out for generations to come. Ways I will be contributing to help these wicked problems are helping with the environmental waste problems, recycling and upcycling clothing with fast fashion brands, and buying used items. Of course, there are other wicked problems not including environmental waste such as climate change, poverty, education, the list goes on, but the way I can contribute most is through environmental waste. What interests me the most is fast fashion because I’m a fashion merchandising major, so this topic really concerns me.

            Environmental waste is a huge issue today and has been for many years. People don’t understand how hurtful it is to our environment. Fast fashion is producing lots of clothing made out of materials and textiles that are low quality. Some examples of fast fashion retail brands are stores such as forever 21, fashion nova, Zara, and H&M Group. All of the stores are wonderful but potentially are bad for the environment.

            A way that is super easy to keep the world more sustainable is to recycle your old clothing, or clothing that no longer fits, or you don’t like anymore. You can recycle by cleaning out your closet and getting rid of clothes you no longer want and donating them to charity or thrift stores that are in the same area as you. The reason I say I can contribute a lot to this is because I have so many clothes and not enough space in my closet. Why would you not want to clean out your closet and donate your clothes to the people who actually need them and to keep the cycle going to prevent fashion from going to waste. Another fast fashion retail brand that everyone loves is Shein. Everyone loves shein because of their always trendy fits within each season. I’ve personally bought from shein several times and it’s a hit or miss because their fabrics are very cheaply made. I’ve always said “you get what you pay for” because everything on sheins site is pretty much twenty-five dollars or less. That’s why everyone loves it, because you can buy in bulk and get rid of what doesn’t work out. The very bad thing about this retail brand is that there’s overworking involved and workers being very underpaid that make the garments. It also leads to environmental waste because of all the left-over textiles.

            Something else you can do to help the environment is upcycling your clothing in your closet to make you want to continue to wear it.  You can start simple such as starting with t-shirts and making them cropped or changing how clothes fit you or make you feel more confident in wearing them in public. Be very creative when doing this process and never be afraid to ask someone to help you with that process because it will make an impact and its fun to do. I personally love to do this on my own. I’ve taken fashion design classes that have taught me the basics of sewing and how to use a sewing machine. We did an upcycling project and i remember looking up inspiration on Pinterest of upcycling projects and found this super cute tank top that was made out of Nike socks. That’s just one example but you can take anything that doesn’t fit you or that you don’t like and make it into something you love all while helping the environment. Other ways you can upcycle clothing at home besides cutting and sewing are embroidery, painting, and any reusable item in your house will do.

            Buying from sustainable retail brands and companies will benefit the environment as well. Sustainable companies are focusing on going above and beyond and recycling every chance the get. They are very considerate of the environment so if you’re wanting to contribute to that it’s important to buy from these brands. Some examples of the topmost sustainable brands are Amazon and Nike. Amazon makes everything quick and easy and then whatever you buy online is shipped right to your front doorstep. They also have pretty much anything you could imagine buying, and you can buy from the comfort of your own home. I personally love buying from Amazon because of how easy it is to do, and they have really great quality things. This sustainable brand was even more successful during the Covid 19 pandemic because nobody could leave their homes. 

            Besides fashion being a big issue, basic recycling needs to be more spoken about in my opinion. Coming up generations barely get taught about what to recycle and what can just go in the trash. People nowadays don’t pay any attention and don’t realize how important it is and what could be potentially doing to our environment. I think schools should teach more about recycling and make awareness of the environmental aspect it has in the world. Things you can recycle are plastic containers, plastic water bottles, paper and cardboard, any type of metal, glass, even plastic bags. There are obviously more things you can recycle but these are the basics that I feel like everyone needs to have a better understanding on. I remember learning about the types of materials to recycle way back when I was in middle school or even elementary school, but I don’t ever remember being explained to as to why I need to recycle certain objects. It was always just you need to recycle this type thing. I think if students were taught why they are recycling and provide images and make it clear as to why they are doing so and why it’s so important I think that would benefit upcoming generations and will make the world a better place.

            All of these issues impact my feelings in many different ways. It’s sad to see and hear that environmental waste is a huge problem but it will always be there and there’s not much we can do about that situation expect for the topics I listed. It wouldn’t be a wicked problem if there was a solution to the issue. That’s the part that scares me as someone who tries to be as environmentally friendly as I can be. In conclusion, the ways I will be contributing to help may seem small but a little can go a long way. If everyone contributed and made helping the environmental waste problem a priority in their day-to-day lifestyle it could make a huge difference in society. 

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