Being Zero Waste In Cosplay, Is It Possible?

Over the past few years, we have seen a huge shift in our society to no longer turning a blind eye to our impact on the planet. We have seen all the videos and documentaries on plastic-eating-turtles and, like many others, we have started to change our habits. Some of us may have even started carrying our own boba straw and cutlery while out and about. But with our busiest cosplay season creeping closer we wondered just how much waste have we been making while cosplaying.

In Australia alone, we have been estimated to send over 500,000 tonnes of textile waste to landfill. Now while this number does not just include our friendly little cosplay community but rather the entire textile industry, it is still pretty sickening.

I mean think about it, we spend thousands a year on crafting the perfect costume, all while discarding the failures and extra leftover materials. We did a little experiment and collected the waste from our own cosplays in development. We were horrified to discover we managed to fill an entire garbage bag and we were only halfway through crafting (and let's not mention the props!).

When we think about how large our community is and how many costumes are in production it really makes us dread to think of exactly how much waste we are sending to landfill each year. The saddest part about it is that most of the materials we send there are made from synthetic materials and cannot be broken down. So all those nasty plastic fibres and waste will be there for hundreds of years to come. Some may even find their way into the stomaches of our much loved marine life.

Now we are not saying we need to stop making our own costumes or even to stop cosplaying but maybe it’s time we look at doing it a little more ethically and in a way that produces a little less waste. In the end, you might just find you’re not only saving the planet but also a pretty dime.

We know what you’re thinking right now. Saying we are going to be a little more eco friendly is a lot easier than actually doing it, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be hard! Recently instead of buying brand new cosplays, we have been scouring the internet for second-hand goodies. You will be surprised at how many great quality pieces you can find for less than half the full price and it gives those pieces a new life.

Another way we can be more conscious is by hitting up the local thrift store for donated material or even items that could be used instead of throwing money around the fabric store. Even just being more conscious of what you are buying can reduce your waste. Think about it, do you really need another pleated black skirt or long blond wig? It is exactly the same as your other one just a tad shorter in length? Instead of buying or making brand new items for each costume why not reuse the ones you already have. You probably have so much more than you realise sitting in your cosplay cupboard collecting dust.

Earth-friendly cosplaying doesn’t have to be hard or even expensive. All it takes is a moment or two of your time to really think about your cosplay and relook at your methods and materials. You don’t have to be perfect and collect your rubbish in a tiny mason jar (we are still in awe of those who achieve this), but by being a little more aware of what you are buying could save not only you tonnes but could also go to saving the planet in the process.