Fast Fashion Is A Disaster For The Environment, here`s why.
First off, we here at Charmio truly believe that fast fashion is a disaster for you, the planet and people around the world. We will look into the effects of Fast Fashion and the exploitation of people around the world in another article.
Fast fashion is designed to be replaced quickly, not simply due to the changing fashion seasons and trends but by necessity and poor design. The materials used are weak and the clothing is generally poorly made, it often falls apart after several weeks or a few months of use. Due to the poor quality it is sent directly to landfill rather than to charity shops to be reused again by another loving owner. In the US only a pitiful 10% of clothes donated to charity shops get resold – these stats do not improve much in the UK as it is estimated to be between 10-30% (Depending on which stats you consult) of donated clothes that end up being sold over the counter, the rest of them end up being shipped abroad which destroys local clothing and textile industries or end up in landfill. The clothes which end up in landfill will often leech toxic chemicals and dyes into the surrounding areas contaminating soils and ground water, the fact that these chemicals have been in close contact with your body is also a major concern.
The “Slow Fashion Community” often finds that clothing that takes a little longer to produce, costs a little more but ends up paying off in the long term as the quality of each piece lasts much longer, is made of higher quality materials and the environmental impact is greatly reduced. Make sure to check out the company you are buying from, just because it may cost more it doesn’t mean that polluting toxic dyes and low quality materials haven’t been used. If you can look into the company that has made it, the way they produce their clothing, the types of dyes they use and how they dye their clothing – this can tell you lots. Some brands are happy to share their production methods, types of dye used, the colouring processes they go through and other companies not so much. It is always worth checking the type of fabric it is made from – Cotton, Organic Cotton, Tencel, Bamboo Viscous, Polyester or Recycled Polyester to name a few. Some have a far greater impact on the environment than others.
Fast Fashion has very few regulations and is putting way too much pressure on our planet. The US alone puts 12.8 million tons of clothing into landfill every year. Fast Fashions CO2 emissions are predicted to increase year on year by more than 60% to nearly 2.8 billion tons per year in 2030. Non-Organic Cotton consumes around 2,700 litres of water per T-Shirt, despite this being a terrible use of water, energy and other resources the fast fashion industry requires this quick and wasteful production. Many of the main cotton producing countries like China and India are already facing water shortages in certain areas and the water intensive industries such as cotton farming and animal agriculture are not helping the situation in anyway .
With water consumption projected to go up 50% by 2030, these countries that are so deeply involved in growing cotton now face the dilemma of satisfying global cotton production or securing safe, clean drinking water for their populations. The obvious answer is drinking water but when large sums of money become involved peoples priorities start to change and their concern for the well being of others starts to diminish – luckily this is not true of everyone but it happens to enough people to make it an uncomfortable possibility that people will miss out on a basic necessity due to poor practices of companies and the people allowing this to happen. Other fabrics out there exist which grow more efficiently, grow quicker and have better properties than cotton. To name a few… Tencel, Bamboo Viscous, Hemp and Organic Cotton. One of these will not solve our crisis of fast fashion but we should be able to use several in combination to help reduce the footprint, reduce the impact, reduce toxic leech and reduce heavy water usage.
We can each make a change, whether that change is positive or negative depends on how we vote. What I mean by vote is by what you purchase, voting with your money – each of us has the choice everytime we shop, where our money goes guides companies heavily on what they produce. If no one was to purchase products then why would they make them?