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Fashion Waste Problem

Shocking facts about the textile industry

By Sustainable Fashion StylistPublished 4 years ago 3 min read
Fashion Waste Problem

Fashion waste is costing the global economy more than $400 BILLION every year, according to a recent industry report.

And this is just the economic impact of fashion waste.

It also leads to environmental disasters.

How much clothing is thrown away each year?

On average, consumers throw away 60% on their clothes in the first year.

In 2020 an estimated 18.6 million tones of clothing will end up in a landfill.

The Ellen Macarthur Foundation has reported that if the trend continues, over 150 million tonnes of clothing waste will clog landfills by 2050.

Imagine this...

With each second that passes by, a truck worth of fabric is piled into a landfill.

An average dump truck is 76 cubic metres in diameter.

A commercial dump truck holds 10-14 cubic yards of dirt.

That means, EVERY SECOND you’re reading this article 7.6 to 10 cubic meters of fabric is being dumped.

It also means that fashion is a massive contributor to the 1.2 billion tones of greenhouse gas emissions released each year.

SHOCKING, isn’t it?

But the data released about the fashion industry doesn’t get much better upon further reading.

Fashion waste problem

Clothing manufacturing creates over half a million tonnes of microfibre pollution that ends in the ocean.

It is the equivalent to 50 billion plastic bottles, each year.

We’re all aware of the plastic ocean problem!

A recent worldwide scale study has identified microplastics in commercial table salts within 16 countries on six continents.

Even worse, microplastic has been found in everyday foods such as beer, honey, and even sugar

However, the problem with fashion is BEYOND textile waste.

In one of the biggest stories surrounding luxury fashion in 2018, insight reporters disclosed that Burberry burned £40m worth of merchandise.

The brand wanted to retain brand exclusivity while keeping stock scarcity high.

Just imagine the negative impact the CO2 and other gasses emission had on the environment.

The scandal had left Burberry reconsidering their garment waste management strategy.

Now the label is using discarded and unwanted stock and upcycle them into new creations.

Fast Fashion Problem

The luxury segment isn’t solely to blame for the industry's negative impact on the environment.

The biggest problem is fast fashion.

Partly due to social influencer marketing, the fashion industry has changed dramatically.

"Right now, customers no longer shop by season; they shop by influencers," said Laurenti Arnault, CEO of Wardrobe of Tomorrow, an online marketplace dedicated exclusively to sustainable luxury brands.

And that’s so true. Social media has created and reinforced the fast fashion business model.

People want to keep up with celebrities and their looks and styles. As a result, the fashion industry has DOUBLED its production in the last 15 years.

In the same time, the times we wear garments before we throw them away has HALVED!

The pressure of social media has left the industry in a serious battle of supply and demand.

But, quenching one’s stylistic thirst comes at a huge price. The manufacturing process behind fast fashion is scary.

For example, textile dyeing alone is the second highest contributor to water pollution, after agriculture.

Furthermore, fast-fashion creates, annually, over $500 bn worth of waste.

The waste comes from discarded materials, under-utilised clothing, and lack of recycling processes in place.

It is heartbreaking seeing the level of impact fast fashion has on the environment…

… all for the sake of ‘looking good’.

So how do we end the vicious circle of fashion waste?

How do we, and manufacturers, work towards reducing the fashion industry pollution?

Waste Management In Fashion Industry

The are several initiatives, both the industry and consumers can take, to combat fashion waste.

Here is how to tackle the problem of FASHION WASTE.


About the Creator

Sustainable Fashion Stylist

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