Stop making do. Is Britain up for mending a culture of exploitation?
A few years ago I was in a cathedral with 400 sixth formers. We were debating ethics and green living. Many seemed very concerned. "How many of you buy cheap clothes that you throw away?" I asked. I saw plenty of unsettled expressions. At that time textiles volume had grown massively as a proportion of UK landfill – it's still 350,000 tonnnes a year - linked directly to cheap manufacturing in the Far East, sold at dirt cheap prices by high street chains turning big profits on large turnover. If you can buy a cool new outfit so cheap, who cares if it falls apart? Wear it a couple of times and throw it away. It turns out Britain could mutate from a make do and mend attitude that endured well past the 70s, into a throwaway nation in just one generation. It's not teenagers I blame. Adult Britain at large needs to examine its conscience through its spending. You may not buy illegal counterfeit cigarettes that avoid duty (many do), but what about some of those cheap nail bars and makeshift