When you think of the most highly polluting industries in the world, is fashion at the top of the list? It may surprise you to learn fashion pollutes almost as much as the oil industry. There are a number of factors leading to this. First, production of textiles takes a lot of water and pesticides. Did you know it takes 900 gallons of water to produce just one pair of jeans? And cotton production accounts for 25% of the world’s pesticide use. As much as 20% of industrial pollution comes from textile dyes. Compounding the problem is the fact cheap clothes create a throwaway fashion economy where people are buying 400% more clothing than they were just a few decades ago.
The average American household produces 82 pounds of textile waste per year. That’s a lot of clothing that is probably ending up in landfills completely unnecessarily! Buying fewer articles of clothing, buying things that last, and taking care of what you have can go a long way to eliminating needless waste and excess- but first you have to stop trying to keep up with all the latest trends!
There are other areas where fashion can have a positive impact on the environment. Some clothing and accessories can be made from sustainable or recycled materials, saving those things from going to waste in a landfill. Ninety-five percent of plastic is used only once, but much of it can be recycled into things like sunglasses. Sea plastic, bamboo, and reclaimed wood have also become popular materials from which to make accessories, and bamboo clothing is gaining popularity as an eco friendly alternative to conventionally grown cotton.
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There’s a lot of opportunity for businesses to make an impact on the world by making their fashion products more eco friendly. After all, consumers are certainly demanding them!
Sustainability In The Fashion Industry
Infographic source: Frames Direct