Environmental Impact of the Textile & Fashion industry by Ariana
For decades fashion has been trend after trend, it used to be about one per year, now is per season and if we keep at this pace it will be per week. The fast fashion industry has made it easier to buy more clothes more times per year, given that it has figured out a way to create more and cheaper clothes, which usually end up in the dumpster really quick, given its poor quality materials and manufacture process. Some may believe it’s not a big deal or doesn’t give it much thought, but all these processes make the textile industry a huge pollutant, it produces around 10% of all carbon emissions, the equivalent to international flights and maritime shipping together, and even more, especially with the growing population and the fast fashion trend, which demands more clothes in less time. Maybe you think it’s not your problem or there’s nothing you can do about it, but if there is no demand there is no supply. First, you must choose wisely the clothes you buy, think it thoroughly, choose local and quality first, even if it’s more expensive than buying fast fashion brands. Second, take good care of them, that way you will save money by giving your clothes a longer lifespan. Third, when they get minor damage or a fixable one, learn how to do it or take them to a seamstress. Fourth, if you don’t want a garment anymore, because it doesn’t fit you or you just don’t enjoy wearing it and it’s in good condition donate it, resell it, lend, give or exchange to a friend or an acquaintance. Another option is thrift stores, buying there has several advantages, among them, are water savings, less contamination due to carbon dioxide emission and less trash ends up in landfills. Even if you don’t like the idea for yourself, you should always give it a try, if you still don’t like it, then try to always wear out the clothes you buy, because even though thrift stores are better for the environment than people throwing out clothes in good condition, it’s better if you use it through all its lifespan, so it doesn’t have to go through disinfection processes or more shipping. Besides, more people are buying clothes and getting bored of them faster, so the donations have increased through the years and a lot of them don’t even end up with other people wearing them, instead they are recycled to produce other products or incinerated to generate electricity. We are yet to create a circular economy in the textile and fashion industry, there is already on-going research about recycling clothes completely and even textiles made of mixed fabrics, and we can’t do anything about it but
what we can do is have more environmentally friendly consumer practices, educate and inspire others because not everyone is aware of the environmental impact of this industry.
------------------------- About the Author Ariana is a 17-year-old high school graduate, taking a gap year while being part of the environmental organizations such as Fridays For Future Costa Rica and We the Planet Latin America, trying to do her part in making a better world.