Fair Share Fabric Project

In 2015 I pledged to  use no more than my fair global share of fibres. I was trying to determine what is a reasonable amount of clothing. After all one mans over consumption is after all another’s nothing to wear.

How Much

However there can be little doubt that we in the UK are consuming fibres in a hugely unsustainable way.
Heres how many textile fibres are produced annually: Total fibres, both natural & synthetic, around 8.5 million tonnes Rough calculations suggest that the average amount of fibres per annum, per person in the world, works out at 11.74 kg.
We in the UK are using 55kg of fabric per person and 35kg of that is on clothes. We are obviously taking more than our share of fabrics produced.
If everyone on the planet was to have 35kg of clothes each year, production would have to triple.

Synthetic Versus Natural Fibres

One of the much touted benefits of plastic is that it reduces pressure on natural resources. Nowhere is this more true than in fabric and fibres.Producing natural fibres is certainly resource intensive. And synthetic fabrics have moved on since the early days of crimpolene and can now convincingly replace anything from wool to silk. They used to make the sheerest of stockings to the thickest and woolliest of fleece jackets. Dirty old fishing nets can be recycled into saucy bikinis.

And at a fraction of the price. So much so that synthetics now make up 60% of the market.

While using synthetic fibres means that less space is needed to grow cotton or flax, less pesticides are used and vegans can be pleased that less sheep need shearing and silk worms dont need to die for us.

But of course synthetics come with their own very real and severe environmental costs. Not least is that every time a synthetic fabric is washed it releases hundreds of tiny little plastic fibres these are washed out into the sea with grave consequences.

Some Will Have To Go Without?

If everyone on the planet was to have 35kg of clothes each year, production would have to triple.
This is unsustainable.
To replace all the synthetics with natural fibres would also have a huge environmental impact but synthetics need to be phased out.
So if we cannot produce more, we have to consume less. Or accept a huge global inequality where some have more clothes than they can possibly wear while others have a few rags.

Well not on my watch

Global Rationing
If we cannot produce more, we have to consume less. the purpose of this project is to see if I can live within my global share of natural fibres as produced at the current rate. And cut synthetics.

This is how the equation works for me:
We cannot exceed current levels of production:
We cannot expect others to want less than we have:
We cannot swamp the market with synthetics:
Therefore I have to live with my global share of natural fibres.

Global share 11.74 kg per person
of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres.
The rest is synthetics.
As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.
Just so you know a kingsize double duvet cover from Ikea weighs in at 991 grams and a Marks & Spencer short-sleeved tee-shirt is 156 grams.

But can it be done? Cautious reply after 2 and a half years is yes it can.

You can read more on the subject and check my figures and sources here.

Whats Sustainable Clothing?
Plastic-free, fair-trade, ethically made and lots more.You can read my clothing manifesto here
You can read more on the subject and check

Second Hand Clothes
Can I buy second hand clothes to supplement my allowance? No. I can buy second-hand but it has to count as part of my allowance.

By Year Synopsis 


The counting Has started….


I used
3.835 natural fibres
318g synthetic fibres
Total 45g regenerated fibres
So I am over on natural fibres but way under on synthetics. Read more.
However in 2015  I bought 3.15 kg of natural fibre products and 3.2 kg of synthetic fibres. – so I had a 65g surplus of natural fibres to use up.


I bought 3.15 kg of natural fibre products and 3.2 kg of synthetic fibres. See them here.

2014 & What I started with

Rationing might not seem so much of a burden if I already had a hundred outfits and enough sheets to stock a small hotel. I dont. You can see my original wardrobe here

2 pairs of trousers
1 nightie
1 Bra


Tops, Cardigans & Jackets
4 no Long Sleeve Tops – cotton
1 grey – 2010
1 striped – 2009
1 blue – 2011
1 red – 2014 year
Ranging from 5 to 3 years old except the red which was bought last year.

6 no T Shirts & Vests – cotton (10)
1 grey – had for ever.
Marks & Sparks 2014 156g each – no hangers
1 black
1 navy
1 pale grey
1 vest – years plus
2 no Other (12)
wool tunic that I made from woolen fabric I have had for years. I have been wearing that for 18 months? Possibly longer.
Cotton shirt bought in India 2011

2 no Warmer wear & Coats (14)
1 synthetic jacket pre 2011
1 nylon raincoat pre 2011

4 no. Bottoms (18)
Shorts Summer 2014 Synthetic Fibres
Trackie bums cotton don’t know how old – over a year.
Thin long trews hot thin cotton bought Summer 2014
Thick long trews cold corduroy Autumn 2014 Marks & Spencers

1 no Skirts & Dresses (19)
Linen dress made for Observer Awards 2014

Underwear & Sleep
Knickers (20)
I have counted knickers as one because for some reason I feel shy about telling you how many pairs of pants I own!?
Philippino pirate pants
M&S sometime last year
France 2014 a pack of knickers
2 no Bras (21)
1 reasonable bought spring 2014 synthetic fibres
1 utterly awful that I only wear when the reasonable one is in the wash. At least 2 years old
4 no Socks (25)
2 thin pairs of socks – new before we left – gift.
2 thick pairs of sock – made by my mum.

5 no Sleep & Swim (32)

  • 1 nightgowns warm
  • 1 nightgown cool 2014 M&S
  • 1 Merino long johns 3 years at least
  • 2 bikinis years old– all synthetic
  • Towelling dressing gown
  • thin cotton dressing gown

7 no Outerwear Hats & Shawls (39)
1 wool hat 2013
1 straw hat 2014
1 wool scarf gift 2013
3 pairs of gloves
1 no shawl

2 no Work in progress (41)
Spotty dress work in progress bought from charity shop
Sleeveless long vest / sleeveless tunic most cotton bought in Malaysia 2011

4 no In storage (The cupboard we don’t talk about) (46)
1 smart – wool years old
1 very warm sheepskin second hand ages ago
2 waterproof  walking coat- synthetic years old
1 raincoat – synthetic cant even remember when

Other fabrics

back packers flannel


Plastic-free July

Of course every month is plastic free for me but plastic free July is a time to make a bit of extra effort, promote projects, look at my bin and join with other people all over the world who are taking this time to rethink their relationship with plastic.

What is Plastic Free July

The aim is to cut your consumption of one use plastic, for one month – July. If that sounds a bit much bear in mind that definitions of one use plastic can vary. And how much you choose to cut is up to  you – read my take.
You can  take this opportunity to tackle one item. Maybe get your self a milkman, buy (or make) some produce bags for loose veges or get a refillable water bottle.
You don’t have to do it all at once!

But whatever and how much you choose to do, he plastic you loose is more important than the plastic you use!

A bit of history

Plastic Free July started in 2011. It is an initiative of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) in Perth, Western Australia and was developed by clever Earth Carers staff. In 2012 Plastic Free July expanded across Perth and in 2013 it went global. They have a great website and are all round good eggs.

My Plastic Free July

I cut all disposable plastics and just to remind you, that includes:
tins & cans:
glass jars with plastic/ plastic-lined lids:
Plastic lined cardboard:
Don’t know they had plastic in them? You can read all about sneaky plastics here
Plastic packed personal care and hygiene products. I will as ever be making my own. Sadly the ingredients came plastic wrapped but it can’t be avoided.
Any other plastic goods that I can’t think of right now.

Plastic I find myself using but Try not to
Booze. Itbis almost impossible to find plastic free booze to take out and there is usually at least one social occasion that requires a gift of alcohol.
If the morning after visiting said friends painkillers are required then they will be administered. As of course will any other necessary medicines.

Basically it’s what I do all year without the backsliding on the mayonnaise and wine front.

Keeping in Touch
Facebook groupf eatured

Join in at the Plastic Is Rubbish Support Group where people share plastic free tips.
And Twitter @plasticSrubbish

I encourage UK participants to use the  hashtag #pfjuk for British related posts. Mainly because it gets very dispiriting to hear of a fantastic bulk food store only to find it is based in Sydney.

 U.K. Participants

Every year UK based bloggers have joined in.
It’s really important to link up with U.K. based plastivists who will be sharing throughout the month. While some solutions like solid shampoo from Lush can be accessed UK wide,  many are local.

You can find a list of bloggers who have contributed  here.

Follow My Progress

2017  This year progress will be recorded here 

Past Years

I am proof that you can do this anywhere no matter the constraints
2014 I did it while travelling  in a van. Here is how I did.
2015 I did it with a backpack  check out Plastic free Mongolia
2016  here

More Resources & Info

Loads of plastic free products here… A to Z of plastic free products

And see all our past plastic free July posts here


Waste Less Live More Week

So proud to be a partner in the Waste Less Live More Week and be up there with some real waste heroes Check out the list. The week runs from the 22 – 28 September 2014 and has in the years past had a theme.

This great campaign has been organized by Keep Britain Tidy but it goes further than suggesting you put your rubbish in the bin. No, it posits that mindlessly consuming vast and often needless amounts of stuff is not just a reckless squandering of precious finite resources that results in huge amounts of problematic, difficult to dispose of trash…. but it doesn’t even make us happy.

Blimey! Well said you!

2016 and online celebration of local shops 

2015 and I was being resourceful organising a online litter pick.

2014  we had to make it, borrow it value it and so on – see how my week went.

Press Release

Waste less, Live more Week  is Keep Britain Tidy’s annual awareness week which  brings together partner and supporter organisations who together host a week of events and activities around a theme

Plastic is Rubbish is joins up with  charities, businesses and organisations to support this year’s Keep Britain Tidy resource initiative, Waste Less, Live More Week, to inspire new, creative and inventive ways to live better, within our environmental limits.

Keep Britain Tidy is a leading environmental charity. We inspire people to be litter-free, to waste less and to live more. We are run programmes including Eco-Schools, the Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces and the Blue Flag/ Seaside Awards for beaches. To find out more about Keep Britain Tidy, our programmes and campaigns visit

Press enquiries
Contact the Keep Britain Tidy press office:
Helen Bingham 01942 612617/07918 631682
Keep Britain Tidy Mobile (24 hours, 7 days a week): 07768 880016

Keep Britain Tidy has ISDN radio facilities for interviews
ISDN: 01942 322178
Please contact the press office in advance to make arrangements



About Plastic Free UK

I am compiling a directory of UK-based groups, organisations businesses and individuals who are responding to the problems presented by the misuse of plastic. That does not mean anti-plastic necessarily but certainly plastic-problem aware.


It is becoming increasingly apparent that though plastic is a massively useful product, it has a dark side. Plastic pollution is emerging as one of the major ecological challenges of the next decade – we need to start looking for some solutions, and quickly. A total ban on all plastics is not a realistic or even a desirable goal. Some plastic products are worth the (properly managed) environmental costs.

Others are not.

What is unnecessary is of course open to debate but one that is becoming increasingly relevent. And there are lots great people out there doing just that; debating and proposing all manner of exciting solutions that range from personal plastic boycotts to advanced techno fixes. Some focus on primarily on plastic issues, for others it is an incidental – but for all it is a consideration.

I want to feature U.K. based initiatives that are tackling the growing problems of plastic abuse – one each month to create a directory of UK-based plastic aware projects, refuseniks, trash slashers, businesses and the rest.

The DIRECTORY is to promote their work.

I hope that by sharing information and providing a forum for a plastic-aware community we can;

  • contribute to the growing plastic debate,
  • support and promote plastic aware projects and products,
  • show there is a market for plastic free products and services,
  • document the growing concern about the problems of plastic abuse.promote and support plastic aware people and projects
  • help others tackle and reduce the plastic in their lives
  • encourage the provision of plastic free alternative products
  • disseminate the latest information about plastic and plastic research
  • campaign for a sustainable use of plastic and for cleaner plastics


If you have a plastic aware project we would love to feature you. Read the submissions guidelines and join in – it’s quick and very easy!

Find out more about us here….

and look over the Directory Register here


Zero Waste Week

For a number of years now I have been a zero waste ambassador. Here are some quick zero waste week facts!

  • Zero waste week is organized by Rae Strauss
  • It has been since 2008.
  • This year runs the first full week in September.
  • The aim is to cut the trash going to landfill.
  • Each year there’s a theme

Visit the website here.
Click here for Zero Waste week

Of course its not just me  doing it- there are loads of bloggers doing all kinds of stuff. You can find them herded together in one easy to access place on the Zero Waste website and listen to them wittering – sorry twittering – on on the twitter hashtag #zerowasteweek

If you want to join in you can make a pledge here on the zero waste website. If you decide to blog about it you can decorate your blog or  post with various buttons, if you don’t you can print off posters for your living walls (easy tiger!) with these links posters and pdfs

See how I did in …

My zero waste week has been a celebration of loose and unwrapped food. As bought from supermarkets! Is that even possible? There followed a week of eating-plastic-free -but- only-buying- from – supermarkets. It can be done. You can read about it here


Think you can’t be Zero waste  when backpacking? I did it in China – see how here

1-7th of September The aim this week wass to send nothing to landfill however I am nothing if not pedantic. Zerowaste means just that! So I sent nothing to be recycled either! You can see how I did here.