Did you know that the textile industry is among the most impacting on the environment?
For CO2 emissions.
For water consumption.
For water pollution.
Taking note of this information, what can each of us do to try to stem the phenomenon?
Textile industry and impact on the environment: from Haute Couture to Fast Fashion
The textile industry, led by the spasmodic pursuit of fashion, seriously harms the health of the environment. Redundancy is required.
Globalization, development and the wealth of the Northern part of the world have led to the explosion of trends in recent decades. If until the last century we got away with those brands that imitated Haute Couture and that required long times, this was no longer enough for us.
The population pressed to grab more and more items of clothing. Companies have pushed for production processes to reach a speed that was previously unthinkable, unimaginable for the sector.
This led to modern Fast Fashion, which is a clothing sector that produces low-quality clothes at bargain prices and in a very short time.
It looks cool, it looks affordable. But at what price? Are we aware of it?
Companies must produce non-stop and the perspective that guides them is that of profit.
Did you know that for a t-shirt that costs around $ 30, the worker is paid only 0.20 cents?
Large-scale distribution takes 60%.
The brand 12%.
The cost of the material is 12%; the remaining slices concern transport costs, intermediaries, the profits of factory X in the third world and other general costs.
What does fashion represent for us?
The clothes we wear today represent our trademark. They talk about us and for us. The personal combination of styles and logos generally reflects our way of thinking, our tastes and also the relationship with ourselves. They tell a part of who we are, or who we think we are, or who we aspire to be.
Shopping consoles our weaknesses
No more psychotherapist. Physical and psychological ailments, anger, resentment, sadness draw on our wallet and overwhelm our closets.
Textile waste is not recycled
The consumerist part that is in us presses for the products to be released to us at the lowest prices and this possibility engages the process itself, allowing us to obtain a greater quantity of garments – touching or exceeding the superfluous – which will inevitably turn into tides, oceans, boundless immensities of textile waste. A large percentage of these fabrics are not recyclable since, precisely to meet the demands of unrealistic prices, they are designed with poor quality materials.
The textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world for CO2 emissions. Few handfuls of companies use recycled or sustainably produced raw materials.
The consumption of water is frighteningly excessive: according to the EPRS (Research Service of the European Parliament 2019, 2020), 2700 liters of water are required to produce a t-shirt. Basically a person’s water needs for 2 and a half years or more – and for a person who drinks as much as he should, ie 2.5 / 3 liters per day!
Not only that, during the production processes chemical products are used which pollute the waters of this planet.
Also think that according to the EPRS (2017) and the EEA (European Environment Agency 2019) every year 0.5 million tons of synthetic fibers end up in the sea. Remember the famous micro-plastics? I invite you to read more about it: Is plastic recycled? How?
Textile industry and environment: what can each of us do?
The Dalai Lama would suggest asking:
“Do I really need it? Would this purchase make me a happier person? “
If one or the other or both questions give a negative result, it would be good not to complete the purchase without feeling unmotivated or saddened. The environment benefits, we benefit from it. It’s a simple little habit not to forget.
An effectively positive impact would be possible by extending the life cycle of the materials used for the clothes (I would like them to return as precious as they once were!) Thus allowing a prolonged use of the same, conscious, ethical, sustainable.
Since this is a burden on industry, our tendency to detach from the problem is natural. We feel powerless, unable to act. Yet a great deal also starts from our approach, from our behavior, a commitment to prefer fabrics composed of natural fibers can only be positive. The label is there, it only takes a few moments to choose!