Updated: Aug 28, 2020
By Jasmine A.,
Isn’t it great to get your first paycheck and head out shopping? Targeting to go directly to popular brands such as H&M, Zara, Levis and the list goes on. Well, you need to know that apart from your shopping spree, you might be hurting the environment through your choices of preferences on specific clothes.
The world of fashion is known to be one of the fast-growing capital with a profit of 3 billion dollars per year. The global fashion index predicted an increase in the growth rate of 5% in 2019. On the contrary, the fast fashion industry is considered one of the industries that impact the world’s waste. It is estimated that 13 millon tons of textiles go to waste every year. On top, a lot of these “branded” manufactures ignore the environmental side effects of its production process. The textile industries fall in the common system of the following practices:
The wasted chemicals that are used to dye clothes are release in the environment that contaminates both the nearby land or freshwater areas. Harmful metals such as Aniline, zinc are used to make vibrant colors and stains.
To make the cotton, it requires gallons of water in addition large quantity of harmful fertilizers while growing cotton plants. This includes metals such as lead, organochlorine, and other toxic agricultural chemicals.
Generators that manufacture textile release harmful air pollutants to the atmosphere directly affecting the ozone layer, birds, and climate change. (HCHO, chlorine & heavy metals are released from these factories)
In a nutshell, the textile industries cover all three aspects of polluting the environment- land, water, and air pollution. It has affected the lives of human beings and various other species on earth. Furthermore, these industries contribute to climate change, causing a rise in temperature and health issues to the individuals being exposed to the pollutants.
On the bright side, there are alternative ways of avoiding such pollution by heading over eco-friendly fashion. Sustainable fashion initiated in 1962, after a biologist published a book regarding the serious effects caused by the fashion industry to the environment. It is better known as ethical fashion, aims to promote the use of recycling and upcycling method in society due to the massive benefits it offers to eradicate air, water, and land pollution. With the rise of global warming, companies and stakeholders look forward to promoting sustainable fashion. Which means sustainable practices from the point of production in farming till its end product to the store. The benefits of sustainable clothing vary in the following:
The clothing dyes do not contain harmful chemicals.
The cotton used is organic, which means during its farming method, it is free of harmful fertilizers and pesticides.
During its manufacturing process, the harmful chemicals lie in the standard limit unlike other textile industries.
Eco-friendly clothes made does not involve the use of animals for their skin.
No allergic reaction from the material as the fabrics does not involve any use of harsh chemicals.
Apart from the environment, sustainable clothes are unique in their designs. The fabric is comfortably light with a non-fading color that has long durability. The earthy colors of eco-clothes are enough to make you feel the importance of the environment. The top well-known eco-friendly clothing brands are Rothy’s, Tentree, and Everlane. These companies help promote the use of sustainable products as a means to save the planet while simultaneously accommodating the consumer's demand within the fashion trends.
….So what’s the catch?
Sustainable clothing can be a “little” pricy but that’s fair enough in the benefits it gives. Besides, the fabric is durable, soft and the designs come in all variations. Almost similar to the normal ones you go for. That’s a fair enough deal to let you spare out some extra bucks.
From an environmental approach, it all comes down to the individual level of opting to live a sustainable lifestyle. According to the statistics of textile waste production, an average person throws almost 70pounds of clothing per year. That is mainly due to the number of clothes that consumers buy but are hardly used in their lifetime. This then contributes to an increase in the use of landfill sites. Well, that’s the worst it can get.
It is without a doubt that the textile industry harms the environment from numerous perspectives. The least a person can do is opt for sustainable items. To lessen the impact involves your choices in the way you shop. Hence, the next time you go shopping, you might need to reconsider your choices and the impact you make through your selection of clothing.
Overall, the sustainable fashion industry believes in protecting the natural land by living a sustainable lifestyle while eliminating toxic methods that pollute the environment. As the economy progresses a trend of living and buying sustainable items will be one of the restoration techniques to save the planet.