Today the time in between the appearance and the disappearance of trends is faster than ever. Customers can buy trendy clothing at an affordable price. The affordability of the clothing allows the cycle of trends to be very FAST! This is called “Fast Fashion,” also referred to as disposable fashion.
In my last post I spoke about our consumption habits, how environmental disasters can all be tied back to consumption, and how this extends into our closets. We consume 400% more clothes than we did just 20 years ago.
With these facts it makes sense that the fashion industry is a $3 trillion dollar industry, and is the second largest polluters next to the oil industry. It also accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions.
“The environmental impact is significant: the clothing and textile industry is depleting non-renewable resources, emitting huge quantities of greenhouses gases and using massive quantities of energy, chemicals and water. The synthetic fibres often favoured by fast fashion brands, such as polyester, nylon and acrylic, are basically a kind of plastic made from petroleum, which means they could take up to a thousand years to biodegrade” (U of Queensland).
Here are some additional facts that further explain why the fashion industry is a pollution disaster:
– Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make polyester fiber, which is now the most commonly used fiber in our clothing. But it takes more than 200 years to decompose.
– Fast fashion garments, produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year.
– Cheap synthetic fibers also emit gasses like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2.
– Over 70 million trees are logged every year and turned into fabrics like rayon, viscose, modal and lyocell.
– Cotton is the world’s single largest pesticide-consuming crop, using 24% of all insecticides and 11% of all pesticides globally, adversely affecting soil and water.
– Plastic microfibers shed from our synthetic clothing into the water supply account for 85% of the human-made material found along ocean shores, threatening marine wildlife and ending up in our food supply.
– The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet.
– A quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles.
For the remainder of the Challenge, expect posts about:
- micro plastics
- thrift stores
- slow fashion