We all love to dress well, and while there’s no harm in that, the fashion industry has been taking a dangerous turn in the past few decades. The rapidly evolving fashion trends are pushing for higher production rates of garments. What’s more alarming is the garments’ disposal rate.
1. Fast-Changing Fashions Leading to Higher Production and Disposal of Fabrics
The fashion industry is so fast-evolving that people need new clothes every season. Hence, piles and piles of clothes are being thrown in landfills every day. This is a problem since most clothes manufactured nowadays are made partly with plastic components so degrading is very hard and takes thousands of years.
This even presents a bigger problem if it gets to the ocean as it can be degraded into small pieces, called microplastics, and may get into the digestive system of sea animals. This can cause choking and breathing problems, which may even lead to their death.
Craig Miller, Co-Founder Academia Labs LLC
2. The Majority of the Fabric Material Comes From Fossil Fuels
85% of textile waste in the US goes to landfills or is incinerated. The majority of the fabric material comes from fossil fuels. The fabric gets manufactured in third world countries with cheapest about and least taxes and regulations.
The waste is dumped into their rivers which actually created the world’s most polluted rivers, Citarum in Indonesia. Fast fashion has taken over society, which has forced the market to dump more clothes into stores than ever.
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3. Only 3% of Apparel Is Sustainable
In a world with a population of 7.9 billion people, 80 billion apparel items are consumed annually! Yet only 3% of the market share is sustainable.
Thanks to pressures from trends, social media, and changing seasons, on average, these garments are worn just 7 times, resulting in a dumpster truck full of clothes being dumped into a landfill every second in the USA.
Current rates of consumption and production are not sustainable. There are finite resources on our planet, and the ones we have are already being polluted by chemical runoff and GHG emissions.
We need large corporations to take responsibility for their actions. To produce only what is needed, break away from the need for new seasons and current trends, and manufacture their goods ethically and sustainably.
A Sustainable Business Model Is Possible
New, more environmentally friendly materials are available. Companies can offset their carbon footprint, operate on closed-loop systems and use renewable energy. They should be helping to educate consumers, offer repair and mend services as well as design garments that last.
At a consumer level, we need to be thinking about alternative ways to shop. Upcycling the clothes we already own, swapping with our friends or in local groups, shopping from thrift and charity shops so that garments can stay in use for longer.
We need to break away from the 1990s fast-fashion mindset and move back to the 1950s attitude of caring for the things we own, and loving them for longer – so that our natural environment can continue to provide us with fresh water to drink and clean air to breathe.
Samantha Tollworthy is a Marine Biologist and wildlife TV producer, now founder of sustainable sock company Teddy Locks.
4. Use of Harmful Materials
The traditional fashion industry is one of the worst enemies of the environment, even though nowadays brands are more eco-aware than in the past. Major brands have always exploited both child labor and the environment by sourcing their raw materials from developing nations, particularly in Asia.
The reason being primarily the cheap cost, which is due to the lack of humanitarian and environmental regulations in place. So raw materials are extracted with no regard to the environment by overharvesting and the harsh chemical processing that happens at factories where dye is applied to the cloth.
Nikolina Jeric, Founder 2Date4Love.com
5. Clothes Are Made With Excessive Amount of Water and Materials That Aren’t Biodegradable
The fashion industry is now heavily characterized by ‘fast fashion’ brands, which use a lot of synthetic materials and water to create clothes that are meant to degrade in a faster manner. Not only are these clothes made in a manner that uses a large amount of water, but they are also made using such materials that take extremely long to break down.
This means that the more people buy these clothes, the more people will throw them away (and faster too!) so that they will be thrown in landfills by the thousands, where they will remain for hundreds and hundreds of years before they finally break down.
Marilyn Gaskell, Founder of TruePeopleSearch
6. Massive Dumping of Synthetic Clothing Materials in Landfills
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters and contributors to climate change – from microplastics to water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the whole industry is creating an unregulated impact on our planet. But the culture of over-consumption is the driving force behind the industry’s impact; there is a complete disconnect between the value put on fashion products, from the cost to make them, to the selling price and duration they should last.
This culture has created an industry that’s responsible for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, this could rise to 26%by 2050 but has also created a textile-waste crisis where £140m worth of clothing gets sent to landfills each year in the UK. Most of these garments are made from cheaper synthetic materials that do not biodegrade and will be with us for decades to come.
If we want to have a chance to reverse climate change, the industry has to change from the take – make – dispose linear model to a circular solution where we maximize the resources we use and the lifespan of the products we create. As a business, we want to be part of that change and are creating garments with their end of life in mind so that we can create a better system with less environmental impact.Carrie Davies, Founder & CEO of ONE Essentials; Everyday Essentials for Everyday Radicals
Brian formed EHRCWeb alongside Cynthia after working for two decades alongside international institutions for humanitarian aids and other efforts worldwide, may it be catastrophes made by men or nature. Brian built EHRCWeb with the hopes of bringing more cultural diversity across the internet.
He primarily writes amazing stories about cultures and shares different ideals with our readers through his stories. He believes that people empowerment is important especially during these trying times.