When was the last time you went shopping for clothing? Where did you shop? Did you buy something seasonal, or a statement piece that will last for years? As American consumers, we love our clothes, however, we rarely stop to think about how these purchases can affect our planet. According to a statistic from The Organic Trade Association, United States citizens throw away 80 billion pounds of textiles, equating to roughly 70 pounds per person, or approximately 191 t-shirts annually. Furthermore, textiles take upwards of 200 years to decompose, and with a staggering total of 13 trillion tons sent to U.S. landfills annually, it’s essential that apparel manufacturers do their part. However, as consumers, we have the same responsibility to purchase with intent and waste less.
Fast Fashion Defined:
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fast fashion as “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.”
These quickly-produced goods fill discount stores and malls across the globe. However, fast fashion manufacturers don’t have the luxury of time, as they fulfill the desires of consumers based on current trends and styles. Often hastily made, these garments rarely last more than a season or two, often ripping, fading, or falling out of style. Eventually, they’re discarded and sent to landfills, at which point, consumers return for next seasons fast fashion line. This practice is damaging to the environment and definitely not sustainable.
Fast Fashion Textiles:
Farming the materials that are eventually fashioned into textiles has been a common process for thousands of years. Nevertheless, as technology made manufacturing faster, it also gave birth to the fast-fashion industry. In order to meet manufacturer demands, farmers are using more land, pesticides, and fertilizers than ever before, meaning sustainability and final product quality is often overlooked. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost to our global, local, and personal health. For example:
● Producing 1 conventional cotton t-shirt consumes 2.7 thousand liters of fresh water, or 713 gallons.
● Globally, the textile industry generates 220 million metric tons of CO2 annually.
● According to a 2014 agricultural study, farmers spend roughly 3.3 billion dollars on pesticides.
● Among the most common pesticides used to produce conventional cotton, 47% contain cancer causing carcinogens that affect land, air, and water quality, as well as the final goods and products made with conventional cotton.
● If improperly regulated or monitored, pesticides can harm local wildlife, ecosystems, and citizens. Land, air, and water contamination can cause a whole host of issues resulting from ingestion or long-term exposure, potentially causing neurological disorders or cancerous growths.
Source: Pact– Why Organic Graphic