When most people buy a new pair of stretchy pair of leggings or jeans, they don’t typically think about what they are made out of. And to prove just how much plastic the average pair of jeans has, permaculture coach Graham King used his compost bin to erode the cotton in his jeans, leaving behind only the plastic elastic that makes up the rest of the pants. The results were incredible, with every photo showing that there is a significant amount of plastic in pairs of pants that most people wouldn’t think twice about throwing away once they were worn out.
Taking pictures of this strange experiment wasn’t only a way to spread awareness for how present plastics are in fashion for King. After he documented the pants, he auctioned them off for over $800 to raise money to support non-profit organizations that teach people about building a sustainable environment like the group Permaculture Australia. King works full time as a permaculture coach, teaching people about land management and coaching individuals on how to grow a sustainable garden. He knows that plastics are incredibly hard to break down, so they should be kept out of natural spaces as much as possible.
King used this experiment to make the point that plastics like the ones that make up what used to be this pair of jeans often break down into micro plastics that permeate the environment and end up in the ocean, in our food and elsewhere in the environment. He also posted a photo of the jeans on Instagram with the hashtag #boycottfashion, in an effort to make people aware of how much waste constantly buying and throwing away clothes adds to our Earth. King recommends keeping and utilizing your clothes for as long as you possibly can and even finding new ways to recycle them, like by using old clothes as rags once you are finished wearing an item. Small actions like this can save a ton of plastic from entering nature and our food supply.