November 10 2020 – Rebecca Dimmock
Its no secret that there are a million things we could be doing better when it comes to caring for our planet.
In case you aren't fully aware, I am going to outline some of the negative impacts that the fashion industry is having on our planet and then a few little steps we can take personally to play our part in minimising this destruction.
Unfortunately, while we all love fashion its the second largest polluter in the world. Right after the oil industry - hard to believe isn't it.
Some of the things we are doing wrong in the fashion industry..
DYEING HUGE AMOUNTS OF FABRIC
Whilst the colours and prints may excite you and its nice to have that bralette in every fluorescent colour you can imagine, it really is at the expense of our aquatic life and millions of people living by river banks where these wastes are dumped.
Why? A huge 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textiles treatment and dying!
Most of our garments are produced in developing countries (especially for those bigger brands) and unfortunately they just don't have the resources to treat waste properly. Instead its dumped directly in to rivers. This contaminates and puts all sorts of toxins through our river systems that eventually end up in our oceans but also impacting millions of people in these countries along the way.
EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION OF WATER TO CREATE & DYEING FABRIC
Lets think about how much fresh water you need in a little tie dye project at home now multiply that number by a trillion! We kid you not, multiply it by a trillion! The fashion industry uses 1.5 TRILLION litres of water each year!
Its not just directly through the dying and finishing process but also indirectly through watering crops. 20,000 litres of water are needed to product just ONE KILO (ONE) of cotton!
Its pretty sad to think about the fluorescent bras now when we know there a millions of people in the world that don't even have access to clean drinking water!
CHEMICALS IN PRODUCTION (AND ONCE AGAIN.. DYEING!)
These are used during production, dying, processing etc and create air pollution affecting the farmers but also affect the soil, the earth and our ocean
WASHING OUR POLYESTER & NYLON CLOTHES
Its been proven by scientist that washing our polyester and nylon (amongst other synthetics) releases thousands of microfibers in to the water.
Similarly to the way plastics end up in our ocean and arre digested by fish, the same thing happens here. Welcome to the food chain plastic!
FASHION GOING TO LANDFILL
We live in a disposable world! Fast fashion has taken over and our shopping behaviours have changed! A western family on average will throw away 30kg of clothing each year. Synthetics can take year and years and years and years to decompose!
Fashion accounts for 10% of all global carbon emissions.
Production/Manufacturing - most of the countries where clothing is created are using coal for power. This is one of the worst types of energy sources when it comes to releasing carbon emissions into our environment
Transportation - freight planes are often older, more polluting and noisier planes. With the amount of stock being moved and global purchases being made we are increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Millions of trees are cut down every year to make our clothes - when we make wood based fabrics like rayon, viscose and model we are losing critical rain forest and endangering species. For our planet to thrive as David Attenborough says, we need biodiversity and deforestation is not helping with this one little bit!
So now i have made us all depressed, i will lighten this up with a few little things we can each do to play our part!
1. Just ready this and being aware! Well done, you are on your way to being more conscious about how and why you should shop slow and sustainable!
2. Choose brands that are making things locally or in countries with stricter environmental regulations.
3. Chose companies that up-cycle fabrics. Its already been produced and reduces waste going to landfill and reduces the need for more water consumption.
4. Chose fibres that don't require loads of water - like linen and recycled fibres!
5. Buy less, Buy Quality, Buy Up-cycled or recycled! Simples'! Do we need all that cheap c**p!?
I welcome any comments or added suggestions as i am by no means an expert
Thanks for reading
Bec (Founder, Valerie Lane) xx