Charity found that one fifth of respondents won’t wear new clothes again despite having spent an average PS73.90 per item.

Britons are poised to spend PS2.4bn on new outfits for the Christmas party season this year – yet many items may be worn fewer than three times – a survey shows.

According to a study by environmental charity Hubbub, one fifth of respondents admitted that they wouldn’t wear the same outfit twice to different events or parties.

This charity highlights the findings as another example showing the negative environmental and financial consequences of fast or throwaway fashion amid growing concern that the industry is wasting precious resources and contributing to climate change. With consumers now bombarded with advertising for Christmas partywear, it is urging shoppers to consider second-hand clothing, swapping and even renting outfits rather than only buying brand new.

woman in white long sleeve shirt holding clear wine glass

Sarah Divall is Hubbub’s project coordinator. She said that vintage and pre-loved clothing have never been more popular and will only get more so as people realize the huge environmental impact of the fashion industry. You don’t have to dress down to go green. There are many eco-friendly options available, such as clothes swaps, renting and pre-loved, and charity shops. You can look great and save money, while still protecting the environment.

The survey of 3,008 adults in the UK found that men are more likely to spend than women. And when it comes to sparkly dresses and sequins, only 24% of respondents said they knew that most contain plastic. Hubbub analyzed 169 party dresses purchased online, at high-end stores and in retail outlets. 94% of the dresses were made from plastic or plastic derivative fabrics.

This year’s damning report by the UK parliamentary committee found that the textile industry produces 1.2bn tons of CO2 per year and is responsible for large quantities of water consumption. 35% of the oceanic microplastics come from synthetic fibres found in old clothing.

One glimmer of hope is the fact that younger generations (16-24 years old) are more conscious about their environment. They swap with their friends (36%), and shop at charity shops (33%), than older consumers.

Meanwhile Asos, one of the world’s largest online fashion retailers, will on Monday announce it has signed up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, an initiative to stop plastics becoming waste or pollution. The retailer has 20.3m customers worldwide, including 6.4m in Britain. It is working harder to make its plastic mail bags more environmentally friendly. Bags are 100% recyclable and made with 25% recycled material. This number will rise to 65% by 2022. However, the retailer is taking additional steps to eliminate any “problematic or unneeded” plastic packaging by 2025.

According to a spokesperson for British Retail Consortium, “Consumers can rest assured that clothes they purchase have, on average,” lower environmental impact. For a more circular economy, retailers are working hard to make sure that old clothes can be recycled into newer garments.

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