Sustainability influencer Outi Pyy: Everyone should know their own carbon footprint
Outi Pyy advises people on the correct recycling of textiles, sustainable consumption and clothing maintenance.
Outi Pyy and five meaningful words:
I have noticed that the more you find things in your life that feel meaningful, the less you consume. This also applies to developing your own style – focusing on meaningfulness and the immaterial content in life helps you centre on what matters. Then you realise that clothes are really just things. They are everyday tools and utilities, but not an actual solution to lacking content in your life. If you focus rather on developing your self-esteem and other matters that are meaningful to you, objects become secondary, and you no longer are an easy target for all the advertising.
Everyone should monitor their carbon footprint actively. It is a bit like measuring your blood pressure – even if the results are terribly high, you need to know where your level of consumption is going and what it consists of. When you review your consumption regularly, it is easier to make changes. I have talked about sustainable consumption and the environmental impact of fashion at the Ekolive events of Ecofellows. You can watch the recording of my presentation on YouTube and the website ekokumppanit.fi/ekolive (in finnish).
Lots of natural resources are tied up in textiles, including water, minerals and chemicals. In addition to those, textiles also involve human labour. While the consumer does not need to know exactly how many person-workyears have been spent on a T-shirt, you still need to appreciate your clothes. Once a piece of clothing has been produced, it would be good to keep it in circulation for as long as possible. This is why looking after textiles and recycling them appropriately is the consumer’s responsibility.
It is also the consumer’s responsibility to find out how each type of textile should be recycled, and to separate clothes fit for sale from waste to be incinerated. You should find your local waste management company’s sorting instructions and follow them. If you would like to donate textiles to a non-profit organisation, first find the organisation’s instructions for donations. I would also recommend reading my blog where I have covered the topic of textile recycling extensively. You should always ask for advice about waste management and recycling from the authorities and experts rather than just Facebook groups.
The waste guide of the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) is also a great resource. In fact, HSY is expanding its textile recycling operations this year – you will find 10 textile collection points in the Helsinki Region.
What is even more important than the correct recycling of textiles is the maintenance during use, which every consumer should perform daily. Maintaining your clothes helps them last longer. It does not involve just machine-washing, but also all kinds of non-automated maintenance, such as airing, storage, mending and stain removal. You can watch a five-part video series on the basics of eco-friendly clothing maintenance on the YouTube channel of the Finnish Crafts Organization Taito (in finnish).
- Sustainability influencer, speaker, business consultant specialised in corporate responsibility, and expert on sustainable clothing maintenance and textile recycling.
- She talks about consumption, textiles and clothing maintenance actively on her blog outilespyy.com, Instagram @outilespyy and LinkedIn.
- She lives in Helsinki in a 120-year-old building. Her hobbies include finding things out. She excels in maintaining clothes and hates doing the dishes.