A lorry-load of used clothing is incinerated or buried in landfill every single second. Here’s why the fashion industry – the second biggest polluter after petroleum – must change.National Geography
Here’s the deal with fast fashion: the quality of the clothing isn’t meant to last. According to The Huffington Post, the world consumes 80 billion pieces of clothing each year.
The world is paying a high price for fast fashion. Buying clothing and treating it as if it is disposable, is putting a huge added weight on the environment and is simply unsustainable. And the result? The fashion industry is now the second largest generator of pollution on Earth after petroleum, with 300,000 tonnes of used clothing going to landfill in 2016 in the United Kingdom alone. And when clothing made of natural fibres like cotton ends up in landfill, it behaves much like food waste; producing the greenhouse gas methane as it degrades in the abnormal, anaerobic environment.
Synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon are essentially made of plastic – and don’t biodegrade at all. Both types of clothing will have been bleached, dyed and printed with chemicals during the production process and once in landfill, these chemicals leach into the soil and groundwater. The cast-offs of our hunger for cheap fashion are literally poisoning the earth.
While you think donating your clothes to the charity could be an act of service to be greener consumer, almost only less than 10% of used clothes gets reused and less than 1% are essentially being recycled.
80% of the garment makers around the world are women in their early twenties, who toil hidden and unseen grappling with low wages, sexual harassment and a lack of upward mobilityremake.world
Being the most labour intensive industry in the world, the clothes you now wear has gone through 100 pairs of human hands touch before you can see them in store, consequentially trapping a generation of young women into poverty. Whilst 75 million people are making our clothes everyday, 80% of them are made by women between 18-24 years old.
These women reported earn less than $3 a day. They are often a victim to the biggest corners of fast fashion cuts, with underage workers who work as much as 14 hours a day while dealing with gruesome working condition.
In 2013, a Garment building called Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh which has caused over 1,000 deaths and beyond 2,000 casualties of the factory workers. It has been reported that garment workers did speak out about the buildings poor infrastructure as the cracks in the wall were evident. However, the owners ignored the demands, which ultimately resulted in this brutally fatal collapse.
Nevertheless, fast fashion isn’t slowing down; not by any means: UNCTD claims that between 2000 and 2014, global clothing production doubled. Projections suggest it will more than triple current production by 2050.
Much of the environmental impact stems from consumers’ constant desire for new clothes. Add this to the fashion brands’ planned obsolescence – whereby poor manufacturing quality ensures garments wear out more quickly – and you have a business model that is manifestly wasteful. According to market researchers Euromonitor International, the number of times a garment is worn before it is discarded has decreased by over a third compared to 15 years ago.
We believe to have came out with an answer- by producing quality and sustainable clothing that could last longer than any fast fashion. You may be surprised, but spending more on quality and environmental friendly clothing may be a cheaper option (clickable link) as compared to spending a little on fast fashion for the long term .
We can’t possibly imagine what would the future look like with fashion fashion indefinitely dominating the industry, could you?