How green is your cosplay? Tips and ideas

(photo: Anthony Tran / via

Cosplay has become far more than just a hobby for many people. With an industry net worth estimated to be somewhere between $25 and $50 billion, you don’t have to look far to see some of the world’s cosplay enthusiasts in action. Cosplay presents an opportunity to reimagine your favorite characters however you like (such as a mash-up of Iron Merman or whatever else). A lot of time and money is spent on creating cosplay costumes that let you embody your favorite character. But could your love of cosplay be costing the environment?

Textile Waste

Think of all that unwanted fabric you have leftover after you’ve created your perfect costume. Those costumes that were never quite right or took a couple of goes to match up to what you wanted. With that in mind, it may not come as too much as a surprise to hear that in just the U.S., we generate an astonishing 15 million tons of textile waste every year. Around 80% of the textiles discarded worldwide will end up in landfills and will stay there for more than 200 years emitting methane as it decomposes. But there are ways to ditch the waste and make sure your cosplay is as green as the  Hulk.

Get A Geek Subscription Box

If you are one of the 43% of cosplayers creating around two new costumes every year or the 25% creating more than five, coming up with something new every time while also getting hold of the right textiles and accessories you need isn’t always easy. Whichever fandom you are in, a geek subscription box will provide you with a monthly box of cosplay inspiration. You’ll also get items, collectibles, textiles, and accessories that you can make good use of. It’s also a great gift idea if people are stuck on what to get you. Many subscription boxes are also eco-friendly and can help you cut down on plastic waste by offering more natural and eco-friendly alternatives.

Reuse And Repurpose

You buy a cheap clothing item, cut it up for a costume that you will wear only once and then discard it. And of course, it’s not just fabrics that will likely only get used once before being thrown out. Wigs, paper, and fabric templates, piping, and batteries are also often only used once before becoming trash. With every fantastic costume comes leftover materials and many previous failed attempts. But much of this waste can be avoided if you take more of a creative approach to costume making. It sounds obvious, but why not reuse what you already have? Think about what’s in your closet that you could give a new life too. Even wigs can be re-styled to give a very different look.

Cosplay is all about fun, creativity, imagination, and sharing a passion. It certainly shouldn’t come at a cost to the environment. When you start working on your next amazing costume take a creative approach not just on the design, but how you source and repurpose materials so you can enjoy a greener cosplay experience.

About Katlyn Hutton

Katlyn Hutton first got into anime in her teens in the 90s with Sailor Moon and Cowboy Beebop. In her 20s she began cosplaying for fun with friends and as time has gone on, and family duties taken over, she's remained in love with cosplay and the environment too.