Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program is coordinated by Clark County Public Health’s Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt.

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Green Blog

News about our community as it relates to the environment

Tips from your Neighbors: Let’s Bust Clothing Waste!


Clark County is full of neighbors who take everyday actions to care for our environment. Fast fashion is an area of concern due to its negative social and environmental impacts, including poor working conditions and compensation, intensive water consumption and pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, just to name a few. We spoke with a few community members about how they reduce clothing waste in their lives. Read more to learn the simple and fun tips they have for you! 

Buy only what you need; shop with purpose. When purchasing clothing, select second-hand, higher quality, local, and ethical items.

Linda Rectanus: I do shop second-hand and have found some real treasures! Doing a closet inventory helps too—if there is an underused item I can plan to look for a companion piece to make it more wearable or evaluate whether to pass it on.

Kris Potter: I have purchased a high percentage of my clothing second-hand for about 35 years. Very little in my closet and drawers is new. I usually only buy new undergarments and tights/panty hose.

Jen Wyld: I buy second hand or organic/fair trade clothing.

Borrow or swap clothes with friends & family. Rent clothing items for special events or for your everyday life.

Marissa Porcellini: Growing up, my sister passed down her hand-me-downs which I wore growing up. When I was older and able to fit into her current clothes, she would let me borrow some items. Now, I continue to borrow jackets and shoes from my roommate; conveniently, we share the same size. This is especially useful when I only need to borrow something for a one-time event, since if I were to purchase it, I know it would just sit in my closet and never be used after that one time.

Instead of sending clothing to the landfill, consider repairing, donating, or placing them in textile recycling bins at select locations. Use scraps of clothing as rags or for other creative uses.

Jen: I mend clothes and remake things like socks with holes beyond mending into wrist warmers.

Kris: I donate clothing that is in wearable condition when I no longer want it, and very worn or stained items are donated to be sold as rags. Sometimes I use worn out clothing that is made of natural fibers as a weed barrier in the garden.

Linda: It helps to learn to sew—you can mend, adjust or remodel clothing. There are many online instructions now to help beginners. And used sewing machines can be found inexpensively. Even older models are usually very adequate for most needs—the modern ones have a lot of embroidery stitch options that are not needed. Example: I have a dress that does not fit me well, but I love the fabric. I am going to take it apart and use the fabric to make another garment that I will actually wear. I also pass on fabric scraps to friends who do craft projects and can use small amounts of fabric.

Shareefah Hoover: Mom taught me basic sewing skills, so I give socks and other clothing items second, third, and fourth lives by darning holes.

Wear the clothes you have for a longer phase in life.

Linda: I purchase clothing sparingly and tend to keep clothing items a long time. It pays to purchase quality items which will last longer. Basic items can be accessorized to create different looks.

Cari Corbet-Owen: Clothes go through a cycle.... They become painting and gardening clothes and when they're finally done, they get cut into wash rags and ties to tie up plants in the garden.

Be mindful of how you wash your clothes. Wash full loads with non-abrasive detergents.

Shareefah: It's #TeamColdWaterWash for me. Imagine all the money — and natural resources — conserved from not heating water for laundry. Also, when not using homemade laundry detergent, I still make sure to avoid products with fragrances. In addition, I use wool dryer balls to help reduce drying time. Overall, I use as few products for clothes-washing as possible — no dryer sheets, fabric softeners, starch sprays, or the like — to cut down on chemicals, costs and unnecessary processes.

It can be overwhelming to consider possible actions to take. Our Clark County community member Jen Wyld says "I encourage people to start with small changes that take them one step further towards their own ideals!" Join us and commit to one sustainable action that resonates with you!

Sign up for the annual WasteBusters Challenge to commit to one green pledge, attend virtual events, complete weekly activities, and interact with the waste busting community. Participants can earn points to be entered into drawings for a refurbished iPad, an Instant Pot and more! This virtual challenge lasts for three weeks, from February 22 - March 15, 2021. Registration is open now until the challenge begins! You can enter as an individual and form a group with your friends, family or co-workers! One of the WasteBusters pledges this year is focused on curbing clothing waste. To reduce textile waste, I pledge to repair, swap, and buy second-hand clothes instead of purchasing new clothing items.

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