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My Consumption and Me

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Introduction

Every day we consume or us things that have impacts either to us or to the environment that we live in. All that we care about is the utility that we get from the things that we consume but there are no a single time that we have asked ourselves how the things we consume are processed? How they reach us? Whether they are sustainable or not? Do they have any economic, environmental and cultural effects to us and other people? These questions are based on our lifestyles and how it affects our surroundings and other people (Cororaton 46).  Every person is supposed to conduct a research in his or her consumption in order to determine whether they lifestyles are sustainable and environmental friendly or not

Research topic

The research ‘My consumption and me’ gives a clear indication that the study is about my own consumption and or my lifestyle in general. From the study it is clear that my lifestyle, just like some of you, is not sustainable and changes are necessary in order to promote ecological balance (Woolman, 280). As the topic states, my fact sheet is about my consumption and how it affect the environment. The research involves a factual study of my wardrobe and even clothes that I no longer wear. It involves the analysis of the type of the clothes that I wear, how they are manufactured, who manufacture them, how they are shipped to my destination and the availability of the resources that make them.

On the other hand, clothes that I no longer wear are also evaluated in order to determine their impacts to the environment after disposal. The intention is to determine whether they decompose or remain for long time to the environment. What are their impacts to the environment? Are they friendly or not? The fact that I smoke cigarettes and take alcohol on weekends also has some impacts in my lifestyle that I can’t ignore in my fact sheet. Generally, as the research topic states, the fact sheet is about my personal consumption with more attention given to the clothes that I wear and their impacts to ecological balance.

Methodology

The research involves qualitative research methods whereby I have to analyze all the clothes that I wear by through observation in order to determine my lifestyle. I have also included pictures of my clothes in order to make the fact sheet more illustrative and easy to understand. I have also conducted a literature review concerning the type of the clothes that I wear in order to determine their sustainability in terms of production, and disposal after use. This includes accessing the information available in the manufacturer’s website, fashion magazines and other articles and books about cloths, lifestyle and environment. After the study, there is a critical analysis on the findings in order to determine the impact of my lifestyle to myself and the environment in general (Woolman, 280).

What I normally buy

It should be noted that I am a 22 years old man and I normally work in an office during week days. Therefore most of my clothes are official ones which include suits, slacks, ties, and nice shirts. On the weekends I normally wear casual clothes especially when at parties or in the local bar taking some beer. These include fitting jeans, t-shirts and sweaters if the weather is chilly. Due to my lifestyle, especially my drinking and smoking habits, most of my clothes are not bright to avoid stains and dark spots in case a spark from the cigarette accidentally falls on my clothes.  On the weekends, I normally drink little unless in times when there is an occasion with my friends. On the other hand smoking is like an addiction to me because on average I smoke a packet of 24 sticks every day.

Generally most of my clothing is cotton and buy them from Bank clothiers and H&M stores in New York US.  This means that I have to drive to these stores any time I need to change my wardrobe.  However I do not do shopping frequently and I replace my clothing once they are worn out. Since most of the stores that I go shopping are situated in New York and I do not live in town, I have to drive there which means that my lifestyle involves consumption of petroleum to run my car’s engine too. Consequently, there is smoke, though little that is emitted which causes pollution to the environment and irritation to other people. However the impact is minimal since most of my clothes are long lasting and I am not a frequent shopper. However, I must admit that the amount of clothes that I buy anytime visit the stores have increased tremendously due to changes in my lifestyle such going to work which has increased my need for more and pretty clothes. This has also shortened the duration that I take in order to replace my clothes.

My shopping routine

Generally my shopping routine revolves from smart official clothes to casual clothes that I wear on the weekends and other days that I am not at work. My shopping list includes fine material trousers and shirts that are mostly made cotton or a mixture of cotton and some polyester. I also buy plenty of fine long sleeved shirts together with their matching ties. I also have few suits that I wear on special occasions. I have buy jeans trousers and t- shirts to substitute my official clothing whenever I am not at work or during parties and weekends.

When it comes to shopping, I normally buy what I necessarily require but, like any other young person, sometimes I find myself buying other things that are new in market as long as I they are pleasing to me and I have money. Generally I normally shop for new clothes twice in a year unless there are few replacements making it at most three times in a year. I normally shop for my official clothes from Bank clothiers stores since they are known for making excellent office attire for men (Jos A. Bank Company). When it comes to casual clothes, I prefer H&M stores since their jeans and t-shirts are long lasting and affordable (H&M clothes company). Most of my clothing last for one to two years since I wear them frequently and any time they are worn out I normally throw them away together with garbage or burn them. This is due to the fact that there are no places to donate or recycle clothes in the place where I live and keeping them is not only unnecessary but also makes my wardrobe to look congested and untidy.

Fabrics that constitute my wardrobe

Most of my clothes are cotton expect few nylon shirts, polyester shirts and woolen sweaters.  For instance, almost all of my official shirts are cotton made or a mixture of cotton and polyester threads.  All these clothes I normally buy then from the manufacturer’s outlets across the city which are Bank Clothiers and H&M. These companies normally manufacture they clothes from the raw materials and then distribute the readymade clothes to their stores for sale.

Manufacture and effects to the environment

Generally, cotton clothes are made from cotton which is harvested from cotton plants that grown in many parts of the world where temperatures are moderately high. When cotton is harvested, it is normally taken to the ginneries where it is prepared into threads that are used to make fabrics that then are sewed together into various clothings. Most of the jeans that I wear are 100% cotton although there are few blends of polyester. The synthetic indigo dye is used in dyeing in order to achieve the favorite color. The belt loops, waistband, back panel, pockets, and leggings of a pair of blue jeans are all made of indigo-dyed denim. Other features include the zipper, buttons, rivets, and label. Rivets are made of copper, but the zippers, snaps and buttons are usually steel.  Some have designers' labels that are made out of cloth, leather, or plastic, while others are embroidered on with cotton thread. On the other hand, most of my t- shirts, shirts and materials trousers are made of cotton too unless few which are made of polyester and or the mixer. I also have jersey T-shirts which are made from knit fabrics. Woolen sweater are made from wool that come from animals such merino sheep and other hairy animals (Woolman, 280).

During the manufacturing process, the fabric is normally treated with several chemicals in order to achieve the required color, durability and comfort. However, in every process of finishing cotton fabric, by products which are mostly biodegradable are released. For instance, by products of Denim manufacture includes pollutants such as starch and dye which are harmful to the environment. However, these by products are normally treated through biological methods other than dumping them into streams or lakes where they end up polluting the environment and taking life from these waters due to their high requirement of oxygen for decomposing. The manufactures use biological process to break these by products into compounds that are less or not harmful to the environment. Polyester comes from petroleum which is a non renewable resource that mining and processing cause immense pollution to the environment.

Countries of origin that show in my wardrobe

Though most of the clothes that I wear are made here in the US, the raw materials come from different parts of the world. There is high probability that most of the cotton that is used in manufacturing most of my clothes comes from either US, Australia or Egypt. This is due to the fact that the amount of cotton produced in the US and Europe is not adequate to meet all the local requirements. Although Bank Clothier is situated in America, there is high likelihood that most of the cotton that it uses to manufacture cloths comes from other parts of the world thousands of kilometers away. On the other hand, H&M Company is a Sweden based cloth making company that has several factories all over Europe and Asia. Since H&M is not situated in America, a lot of cost is also incurred during importation of cotton for making clothes and in shipping of clothes to the company’s stores in the US where I buy them. Petroleum that is used in the manufacturing of polyester comes from Asian countries whereby it is shipped to the countries where clothes I wear are made or these companies import read made  polyester fabrics for making clothes (Roberts, 65).

Effects of shipping and manufacturing to human populations

All these processes involved in making of clothes that I wear have both positive and negative impacts to the human population at large. First of all, manufacturing and shipping processes create income earning opportunities to many people resulting to economic growth. Manufacturers and ship owners get income out of their businesses while those who work in these industries are paid some money too.  Local governments in the countries where these activities take place get revenue too in for of tax and other levies such a trading license fees.  In other words, growth in transport systems and manufacturing industries result to growth in global markets which in term enable individual to access goods and services that are not produced or locally available in the countries (Roberts, 211- 212). Considering my personal scenario, shipping and manufacturing of cloths and clothing making raw materials have enabled me to have clothes that match with my taste any time I want them. However according to environmental theory, we only change one thing and then it leads to other things. Consequently, manufacturing and shipping activities involved have contributed to negative effects to human population too. The processes have resulted to pollution that arises from the byproducts of these industries and shipping trucks, trains and ships. Pollution on the other hand has ruined peoples’ healthy due to increase of diseases that are caused by exposure to contaminated environments.

Alternatives and their differences

Considering the effect that use of non biodegradable and other non sustainable raw materials have to the environment, it is the high time that companies involved in manufacturing of clothes should go green. This means that these companies should reduce use of raw materials or manufacturing processes that are harmful the environment.  Manufacturing companies should consider making cotton and woolen cloths which are friendlier to the environment. Though cotton is not completely green, it is more environment friendly than other fabrics used to make clothes (Woolman, 280). Bearing in mind sustainable means not affect the ecological balance, it is evident that my clothing and lifestyle are not completely sustainable.

For my clothing to be more sustainable, I need to completely change my wardrobe to cotton made clothes that are locally available. I also need to strictly buy clothes that I am in need and not because I have money or certain clothes are pleasing to my eyes. When it comes to disposing of my old clothes, I need to stop disposing them through burning since this is a loss because these clothes can be recycled or donated to those in need. On the other hand, smoke produced when burning these clothes is toxic to human beings and results to environmental pollution (Gow, 112). My life style too especially smoking and drinking of alcohol are no necessities and it’s the high time to d away with them since they are harmful to my health and expensive to maintain. Smoking causes irritation to other people and results to environment pollution too. By doing so, I will able to have a sustainable lifestyle.

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