By: See Woo
This issue of fast fashion has become less prominent than it once was, but I think we have to put more focus on it. We are living in a world where we can get anything we want by spending money. Of all the money we earn, we use 5% for buying clothes. As time passes, we trash clothes that we are not wearing. Did you know that 60% of the clothes we buy are never worn? It goes to the landfill, where there is a cloth grave. Making and burning clothes accounts for 10% of carbon emissions. Have you ever thought about what will happen to those clothes? Unfortunately, because of fast fashion, 11.3 million tons of textile waste end up in landfills every year.
Back to the point: What is fast fashion? Fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to take advantage of trends. When we know about the definition of fast fashion, it seems like it affects us positively. However, there are dark sides to fast fashion that have to do with our environment. What are the negative effects of fast fashion?
Overuse of Water
Did you know that 2000 gallons of water are needed to make one pair of jeans and that 700 gallons are needed to make one cotton shirt? If you think about only one piece of clothing, it does not seem like much, but in a year, 100 billion clothes are produced. 20% of industrial wastewater is used by the textile industry, and throughout the textile dyeing process, it caused additional air pollution. However, we have done some things to make a better environment, such as producing clothes in a specific place where we can recycle or reuse the effluent water from processing. Furthermore, consumers should receive clear instructions on how to reduce their water and energy use.
By wearing, washing, and drying synthetic materials, microplastic fibers are released. By washing clothes, 70 million microplastics are released, and by disintegrating them, 12 billion microplastics are produced. According to a new IUCN report, microplastics are causing even more problems than we thought. The IUCN calculates that 35 percent of this microplastic pollution comes from washing synthetic textiles.
Consuming fossil fuel-based electricity, the primary source of energy in the apparel production process causes a great deal of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Fiber production—spinning, weaving, dyeing, and finishing fabric—as well as clothing manufacture all consume high levels of energy. If the fashion industry doesn’t change the way it currently operates, it is on track to increase its contribution to global emissions by around 63% to an estimated 2.8 billion tons of CO2, which will increase global CO2 emissions by 50%, by 2030.
We can’t all solve the problem immediately, but it is important to think about what we can do by ourselves. There is an enormous amount of money and leftovers from this fast fashion effect. Let’s take action, step by step!
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