Bring back ‘make do and mend’ spirit to prevent £140m worth of clothes in landfill every year, campaigner urges

2nd September 2019 | Recycling

Rachelle Strauss, head of Zero Waste Week, told The Telegraph that the “lost art” of sewing should be resurrected and we should resist the urge to throw out garments when buttons fall off. Launching her annual drive to reduce waste in the UK today, she said sewing and knitting will help combat our “love of disposable fashion”.

The Telegraph launched its own Zero Waste campaign in June this year, which is backed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It calls on the Government, local councils and private companies to do more to boost the country’s lacklustre recycling rates.


Ms Straus told The Telegraph: “I think with the sewing, it’s a bit of a lost art among many people. If we look back to our grandmothers’ era, they wouldn’t think twice about sewing on a button, repairing a hem or darning socks. It was normal and expected. But with our love of disposable fashion, many people would rather throw something away then make a basic repair. Fortunately, knitting and sewing are becoming “on trend” again and there are numerous classes popping up all over the UK.”

The advice was praised by Mary Creagh, Labour MP for Wakefield and chair of the Environmental Audit Committee. She told The Telegraph, “I think the start of the new school term is an excellent opportunity to get children practising sewing on their uniform labels. It is wonderful having it as a lifelong skill – being able to sew buttons back on a repair clothes. My committee heard that fashion students were throwing away coats because they had lost their buttons instead of sewing them back on! But this enables people to save money and have the satisfaction of experiencing their own creativity.”

Around 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in household bins every year with around 80 per cent of this incinerated and 20 per cent sent to landfill.

More information available on the website below