By Catherine Somerville of Sustainable Wallingford.

THE UK throws about 300,000 tonnes of clothes into landfill every single year.

Some studies suggest global textile production creates 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – more than airlines and shipping combined.

So the industry is trying a range of new clothing textiles made from such things as algae, leather made from cactus leaves and Mycotex, a substance grown from mushrooms, hoping they have less impact on the environment than many current fabrics do.

It might be a few years, however, before our jeans are made from any of these materials.

Although encouraging that other solutions are being sought, they are unlikely in the near future to be the solution to the huge amounts of CO2 the industry as a whole currently generates.

Meanwhile, we consumers must do what we can to reduce the impact of the fashion industry by choosing our clothes more carefully.

For example, we could buy classic designs in better quality fabrics that last more than one season and simply accessorise in the current year's colours; we could pass clothes on to family, friends or charity shops when no longer wanted instead of binning them as that adds to the problem.

Also, we could buy fewer clothes online. Sending garments back when they don't fit or we don't like it adds to the problem. Did you know that when we return items, there is no system for getting them re-packaged and labelled, so many of them end up in landfill, even if clothes have never been worn?

That's a shocking waste of valuable resources and increases the CO2 produced by the fashion industry.

To learn more, check out Love Your Clothes from, the waste and resources action programme, a charity which focuses on preventing waste in many areas of our lives.

Groups have formed around the country to hold clothes swapping events. Some also have people who are skilled at up-cycling with sewing machines.

There are quite a few different ways to up-cycle T-shirts for example. They make great peg bags; cut into strips they are ideal to make a rug. Old jeans make interesting bags and belts. Old net curtains make drawstring bags for your loose fruit and veg at the market or supermarket. The only limitation is our own imaginations. Get in touch to let us know what you have up-cycled so we can share it.