How fast fashion adds to the world’s clothing waste problem. Here are some of my tips! (Marketplace)
The company admitted destroying the unsold clothes, accessories and perfume instead of selling it off cheaply, in order to protect the brand’s exclusivity and value. It added that it had captured the energy from the burning to try and make the process more environmentally friendly.
But how widespread is stock destruction at this level?
Orsola de Castro is the co-founder and creative director of activist group Fashion Revolution, who lobby brands on production transparency. She describes land filling and burning as fashion’s “dirtiest open secret” and says she has been waiting decades for a story like Burberry’s to emerge.
Fast fashion is a major contributor to the world’s clothing waste problem. Many of us give our old clothes to charity or drop them in a store take-back bin, but you might be surprised to learn most of it is sold and can end up in the landfill.
Fast Fashion Is Creating an Environmental Crisis
Meanwhile, synthetic fibers, like polyester, nylon and acrylic, have the same environmental drawbacks, and because they are essentially a type of plastic made from petroleum, they will take hundreds of years, if not a thousand, to biodegrade.
Despite these ugly statistics, Americans are blithely trashing more clothes than ever. In less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans toss each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons, or an astounding 80 pounds per person. The EPA estimates that diverting all of those often-toxic trashed textiles into a recycling program would be the environmental equivalent of taking 7.3 million cars and their carbon dioxide emissions off the road.
The rest are sent overseas where they contribute to environmental degradation. Clothing companies say they will dispose of your old clothes properly, but this is simply greenwashing– public relations tactics designed to produce a false sense of environmental responsibility on the part of companies.
Fast fashion comes at high social and environmental costs.
The industry is responsible for high carbon emissions, wastewater production, and large amounts of landfill waste. Fast fashion is second only to oil as the world’s largest polluter.
The fast fashion industry produces ~1 billion garments annually.
Profits are around 3 trillion dollars per year. What impact does this large amount of production have on our environment? Production at this scale is pushing our natural systems to the absolute limit.
Living In A Throw Away Society & The Fast Fashion Industry
So what can we do to change this? Here are some of my tips!
1. If you can afford it, choose to shop for sustainable clothing pieces. They are more expensive, but they’re definitely more ethical.
2. If you can’t afford to shop for sustainable clothing pieces, then lessen the amount of stuff you buy. Try not to buy something just because it’s on-trend and it’s cheap.
3. Choose classic pieces that will last in your wardrobe for years to come.
4. Go thrifting for clothes! There are so many cool items in thrift stores and a lot of it is super unique.
5. Help your clothing pieces last: wash them in cold water and dry them on a line or rack, rather than in the dryer.
6. Share clothes among your friends!
7. When your items are no longer wearable, find out where you can donate your textiles for reuse.
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