Manea Senior College students use free market to fight textile waste
Two students from Western Australia are on a mission to change the attitude of their peers towards textile waste and fast fashion.
- Australia has the second highest rate of textile consumption per person
- Bunbury students Kriztel Compas and Lucy Turner recently hosted an event for students to swap clothes
- The duo want to highlight the impact of fast fashion
Kriztel Compas, 17, and Lucy Turner, 18, from Manea Senior College in Bunbury, South West Australia, have been passionate about garment waste for years.
“Our world is constantly changing and people want to follow that, so they just buy something and throw it away,” Ms. Turner said.
Fast fashion refers to cheap, readily available clothing that mimics expensive items seen on the catwalk or worn by celebrities.
Australia is the second largest consumer of textiles in the world behind the United States. On average, Australians buy 27 kilograms of new clothing each year and throw away around 23 kilograms of clothing.
In an effort to highlight the problem, students at the school organized a free market that saw more than 300 clothes traded among peers.
Ms Compas said many students were unaware of the impact of textile waste.
“They were surprised how many there are and it got them thinking,” she said.
It was also an opportunity to inform students about the consequences of donating second-hand clothes in poor condition to charity shops.
“What they usually do with their clothes is donate to charity, but not knowing that not all clothes are reused and some end up in the landfill,” Ms. Compas said.
The forty or so items left on the market will be recycled by an organization that will use them sustainably.
Students teaching students
The free market was part of a school subject to encourage students to find local solutions to global problems.
Teacher Michele Watson said it gives students a hands-on approach to problem solving.
“I think they really enjoyed having met with local organizations, they talked about what needs to be done and they are actually part of implementing a solution.”
The class saw students choose a range of issues, including marine litter and human health.
The school is now in talks with a local council to try to expand the idea of a market outside the school grounds.
For Ms. Compas and Ms. Turner, as long as their class project is complete, their passion for change will not stop.
“I really hope this becomes something more because I want to start a trend where people see the value in their clothes,” Ms. Compas said.
“Then they will be more aware of the amount of clothing they consume and waste.”