I know most people get sick of hearing how bad something is, whether it's sugar for your health or if it's the radiation coming from your cellphone.
However, it's indeed a fact that the Fashion Industry is the SECOND most polluting industry.
If any of you are wondering, why does this even matter?
Well if you plan on living a long life on this planet or care about the future well being of your kids, then you pretty much should care.
Every year 80 billion pieces of clothing are consumed around the world. And 3 of the 4 garments will end up in the landfill or an incinerator.
So with that being said, I'll keep this a simple fact based read.
Environmental impacts from the process of producing clothing:
1. Getting the Raw Materials
- Just to manufacture a T-shirt and pair of jeans will waste 5,000 gallons of water, that's enough to fill up a bathtub 50 times
-Live stock needed for leather to be produced requires land, feed and water
-On top of that, there is waste from fossil fuels and chemicals being used, which further pollutes our natural water sources
-Synthetic Fabrics such as Polyester, in 2016 was used in 60% of all garments. It is causing manufacturing pollution and overall isn't a sustainable material for the environment.
2. Producing the Clothing and Textiles
- Within clothing there is the possible contamination of lead, in addition to the pesticides, insecticides, formaldehyde, flame-retardants and other known carcinogens
- The dyeing process uses 1.7 million tonnes of various chemicals, majority leaving permanent impact on our environment
3. Delivering it to Stores
- 90% of garments are transported by container ships
- A single ship can produce as much cancer and asthma-causing pollutants as 50 million cars in just one year
4. Buying and using excessive clothing
-The purchase and use of clothing contributes to about 3% of global production CO2 emissions or over 850 million tonnes ( of CO2 a year)
-This comes from the manufacturing, logistics and usage of clothing such as washing, drying and ironing
4. Donating clothing
-While many used garments are sold in thrift shops, the demand for these clothes is relatively low compared to the supply, and far more end up getting exported overseas
-The majority of used clothing in Canada is shipped to Africa, in countries such as; Kenya, Angola, and Tanzania
-In 2013 Canada exported 185 million worth of used clothes
-Overall, the global export of used clothing has risen dramatically, with 4.3 million tonnes traded in 2014
5. Clothing Waste
- The average American throws away over 68 pounds of textiles per year, this amount goes directly to landfills
- Not all exported used clothing are re-used, reports suggest only about 30% of used clothes exported to India are suitable for re-sale
-In addition, extra large clothes from the US are not necessarily re-saleable in Africa. Thus, the remainder is reprocessed into yarn for cheap blankets and insulation
-Thus the unused clothing will most likely end up being dumped in a landfill or burned in an incinerator
Just to remind you, this is just one of the many impacts that a $2.4 trillion industry has. There is still so much more information that is isn't being directly publicized or accounted for. It's ultimately up to us to search what consequences our purchases have.
The next blog post will be discussing WHO the fast fashion industry affects.