Facts About Sustainable Fashion
Human beings are created in a way to be fashionable. People like to wear different clothing items to represent their fashion sense. There is no doubt that fashion indicates personality in individuals. Fashion has a great impact on our mind psychology. But this fashion also affects our environment pretty severely.
The fashion industry generates more than 20% of wastewater and over 8% of all greenhouse gasses annually. Which is higher than all international flights and shipping combined. Around 60% of the material made into clothing is actually plastic like acrylic, nylon, and polyester textiles, among others. These materials shed tiny microplastic waste with each wash, pollute the water supply, and interrupt animal and fish life.
This is why fashion industries need to maintain sustainability to save our planet. There are facts about sustainable fashion to understand that. But first, you need to know sustainable fashion’s importance.
- The meaning of sustainable fashion, and why it is important for our environment.
- 12 strong facts that can change your idea of a harmful garments industry.
- Including water pollution, carbon emission, ruining landfills for animals, and so on.
- Difference between fast and sustainable fashion to have a bigger picture.
What is Sustainable Fashion?
The term “Sustainable fashion” means garments that have been made in a mindful of the many environmental issues the fashion industry touches upon. This focuses on products, processes, activities, and actors targeting a carbon-neutral fashion industry, built on equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity.
Before the 1950s, the fashion industry doesn’t have concerned about sustainability in the fashion industry. The industry tried every possible way to develop fashionable clothing all around the world. It was then in 1962, the world came to an idea to sustain the textile and fashion industry. Since then, we can have good fashion in our society without damaging our environment.
Importance of Sustainable Fashion
Building a sustainable fashion industry is important for equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological reliability. The calculation of modern science is aiming to an inevitable climate crisis. To prevent that we need to take urgent action. For all these years, climate change has already impacted all living systems across the globe.
These impacts not only harm natural systems but also have caused human consequences like food shortages and lack of clean water supply. The good news is that these impacts can be reduced if we can adapt to the caring environment and make changes. Sustainability is a necessary path forward to create those changes.
Sustainable clothing matters and has a huge impact. Perhaps most important is how it affects the earth and its resources. Marinating sustainable garments production to avoid the use of carcinogens, toxins, and other harmful chemicals or pollutants. This has the intention to support a dramatic reduction in water consumption and waste production, compared to the fast fashion industry.
You will be promoting the use of eco-friendly practices from start to finish by investing in a sustainable wardrobe or taking steps towards zero-waste travel. Also helping to preserve our planet for future generations to enjoy.
12 Facts About Sustainable Fashion
Let’s see the facts about the sustainable fashion industry. These facts are overwhelming and some of them will blow your mind.
The fashion industry is the world’s second from the top largest user of water supply. It takes nearly 700 to 800 gallons of water to produce a single cotton shirt, and around two thousand gallons to make a pair of jeans pants.
This is more than enough water for a single person to drink eight glasses per day for ten years. This is why cotton is a highly water-intensive plant. The amount of water required to produce even these basic garments is quite surprising.
Textile waste produced each year in the U.S. and Europe has doubled in a few decades. From the result of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 30.22 million tons of textile waste were generated between 2014 to 2015 alone.
This number becomes more and more alarming when you consider that of this tremendous waste has got 4.62 million tons were recycled, 6.14 million tons were combusted for energy recovery, and 15.46 million tons were sent directly to the dumping ground.
More than 80% to 85% of all textiles will end up in damp areas. In Europe, fashion retailers have gone from offering two collections per year back in 2000. Now they are selling five or more lines within that same 12-month period.
Of course, much of this clothing ends up in the dump. The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second. Within a given year, up to 85% of all textiles will head to the landfill, which is enough to fill Sydney Harbor annually.
Consumers are making huge mistakes when it comes to textile waste. Since an average person is buying more garments each season and keeping half of them in the closet. When looking at consumer habits, around 35% of donated clothing is made into industrial ruins. But in the end, just 15% of used clothing is recycled while around 75% of pre-use clothing is recycled by manufacturers.
This portrays a loss of over $100 billion worth of materials every year and which is formed by the high cost of textile waste disposal.
Fibers can take hundreds of years to collapse. In landfills, natural fibers can take many years to break down and may release methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during their decomposition.
Synthetic materials are even worse as they have not been designed to rot and can spread toxic substances into groundwater and the surrounding soil. Due to this situation, textile recycling is attractive and increasingly important and is now a key issue within the global apparel industry.
In 2023, only 1% to 2% of second-hand garments are made into new clothes. However, this number is accelerating as manufacturers bring better technologies and solutions to use more and more recycled materials than before. Upcycling turns waste material from unwanted items into better-quality and higher-value products.
Did you know, dyeing in textiles is the 2nd largest polluter of water? The fashion industry creates water-pollution problems in tremendous ways. Textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water since what remains from the dyeing process is frequently dumped into ditches, streams, and rivers around nature.
Polyester fabrication releases 2 to 3 times more CO2 than cotton. Many of these fibers come from polyester and plastic found in an estimated 60% of garment products. Polyester production releases two to three times more carbon emissions than cotton, and it doesn’t break down into landfills either.
Patagonia was the first brand to transform waste into clothing. They began making recycled polyester from plastic soda bottles back in 1993 and were actually the first outdoor clothing brand to transform waste into wearable fleece swindles. In 2017, they decided to reimagine their t-shirt offerings and now they sell just two fabric options either 100% organic cotton, or a blend of recycled cotton.
Sustainable clothing brands help to cut emissions and our dependence on petroleum. When companies like Patagonia use recycled plastics in their garments. This not only keeps these plastics from hurting our precious bodies of water. It also eliminates the dependence on petroleum for raw materials and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing.
Moreover, it helps to promote new recycling streams for polyester clothing that’s no longer wearable. Thus addressing the growing problem of waste management.
There are over 2,000 chemicals used in textile processing. Including formaldehyde, chlorine, lead, and mercury which is very dangerous and yet currently used in textile processing. Of these, more than 1,600 chemicals are found in the dyeing process.
Yet only 16 to 20 environment-friendly chemicals are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. In contrast, sustainable clothing manufacturers bank on natural materials that are much safer for our skin and our planet. As they do not contain these lethal ingredients and pollutants.
About 16.5% of the global fashion market pledged to make initiatives for change by 2024. This number of clothing brands are moving away from traditional production to adopt more sustainable practices.
In May 2018, roughly 12.5% of the global fashion market pledged to make initiatives for change by 2020 by using mono-fibers instead of synthetic and mixed-fiber fabrics which are tough to break down in the recycling process.
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Sustainable Fashion VS Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is a kind of fashion that is followed by trends. Fast fashion defines as cheap, stylish, bulk-produced clothes that have a huge corrupt impact on the environment. These garments hugely appeal to shoppers since they are affordable and trendy. But as they are not built to last and quickly go out of style. Buyers do not spend much money on them, to begin with, these clothes are quickly discarded, piling up in the garbage.
Furthermore to environmental issues, fast fashion garments spark a lot of ethical concerns. They are often made in sweatshops with underpaid workers employed for long hours in unsafe conditions and exposed to harmful chemicals used in textile production.
To understand the importance of sustainable fashion, there are many contradictions between these two. Let’s see why sustained fashion is safer.
Most of the well-known fashion companies maintain sustainable methods. They go through many things to make a piece of environment-friendly clothing. While fast fashion is purposed to catch up with new trends. The fast fashion industry does not really care about the environment or even your skin.
Fast fashion is dirtier than any other fashion industry. They use less healthy materials and washing. This makes it ugly before and after making. Sustained fashion also emits CO2, which is lesser than fast fashion in every aspect.
There is a saying that, cheap clothes have no status. Same as it says, fast clothes happen to be low priced in the market to target customers who cannot buy luxury brands. This also indicates your status of you in society.
Fast fashion has no traditional view of fashion. This sector is ruining the traditional vibe in lower society. This is a big issue in the fashion industry. Many famous clothing lines are facing difficulties to bring a new trendy design and grab the market.
Sustainable ethical fashion has had fast growth in recent years. The rate of growth is projected to accelerate in the future. The average annual growth rate of the ethical fashion market is 8.3%. This could grow to 9.7% a year by 2030.
Sustainable fashion requires high-quality raw materials which are expensive. The manufacturing of exclusive ecological products demands fabrics made of natural, organic, or recycled materials. The main drawback of environmentally friendly fibers is their high cost.
Fashion production makes up to 10% of carbon emissions that dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year and washing some types of clothes sends a significant amount of microplastics to the ocean.
Sustainable fashion is necessary for all of us including the well-being of animals and Mother Nature. We need to develop our fashion industry into a more sustained one. These facts in this article show how sustainable garments are saving us every day. So, as a consumer or buyer, make a mindset to help build a sustainable environment all over us and keep peace on all natures and animals.
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