The increased consumption patterns have created millions of tons of textile waste in landfills and unregulated settings. This is particularly applicable to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as much of this waste ends up in second-hand clothing markets. These LMICs often lack the supports and resources necessary to develop and enforce environmental and occupational safeguards to protect human health.
The shift toward mass manufacturing of cheap clothing is resulting in pollution, more waste and other negative environmental impacts
The impact of textiles and clothing industry on the environment go beyond emissions. Dyes used to produce toxic chemicals pollute waterways. Gathering the materials for wood-based fabrics like rayon, modal and viscose contributes to deforestation. Popular polyester fabrics washed in domestic washing machines shed plastic microfibers make their way to into drinking water and aquatic food chains (including in fish and shellfish eaten by humans). Cotton, another eminently popular material, is a pesticide and water-intensive crop; according to the World Resources Institute, the amount of water required to make one cotton t-shirt is the same as one person drinks in two-and-a-half years.
The impact is just as much about the scale of our consumption habits as it is about harmful production processes.
“Right now, the main problem is the volume of clothing that is being produced, which is largely driven by our consumption habits,” says Anika Kozlowski, assistant professor of Fashion Design, Ethics & Sustainability at Ryerson University. “Every product has impacts. The reason that volume is such an issue is that it just exacerbates all these impacts.”
Kozlowski says that the trend started with the outsourcing of fashion production overseas, which made labor cheaper and also removed consumers from the production process
why its important to know who made your garments is because many fast fashion brands use their workers in hash conditions and get under paid and some end up getting diseases due to the fumes and un favorable production spaces, by consuming these garments support all these conditions which we believe no one would want to bare such responsibilities.
While fast fashion offers consumers an opportunity to buy more clothes for less, those who work in or live near textile manufacturing facilities bear a disproportionate burden of environmental health hazards
As clothes became cheaper — and also often cheaper in quality — consumers have slowly lost the ability to repair their clothes. “This price drop really correlated with a decreasing consumer knowledge on how to repair clothes.
The result, paradoxically, is increased consumer spending on lower-quality clothing. “One common misconception is that we actually spend less on fast fashion. Over the course of a lifetime we actually spend more on fast fashion than we would if we invest in higher quality things.
JUST REMEMBER IF YOU SUPPORT FAST FASHION,
YOU SUPPORT SLAVE LABOUR
The environmental impacts of fast
Apparel productions is also resource and emission-intensive. Consider that :making a pair of jeans produces as much greenhouse gases as driving a car more that 80 miles
Discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years. It takes 2700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, enough to meet the average person's drinking needs for two-and-a-half years
HERE ARE SOME OF THE SOLUTIONS
Buy less and wear more
As the Fixing Fashion report says: “The most sustainable garment is the one we already own.” Extending the active life of 50% of UK clothing by nine months would save: 8% carbon, 10% water, 4% waste per metric ton of clothing, according to WRAP’s Valuing Our Clothes report.
2. Read the label
Petroleum based synthetic fibers like polyester require less water and land than cotton, but they emit more greenhouse gases per kilogram. But bio-based synthetic polymers made from renewable crops like corn and sugarcane release “up to 60% less carbon emissions, partly due to the crops creating carbon sinks”. Labels should show whether clothes are made using recycled polyester (rPET).
3. Vote with your feet
Some brands are more sustainable than others, so choose where you buy your clothes. Some sustainable and vintage brands offer lifetime repair services. in Uganda most tailors including those in kampala and its sub-bub , repair clothes have vowed to increase their use of recycled polyester by a minimum of 25% by 2020.
4. Shop and drop for charity
many Uganda designers get fabrics from second hand markets, some people donate to different Organisations which have saved saved tons of textiles from landfill, and helped to cut carbon emissions by millions of tons a year, through reusing and recycling second-hand clothes.
5. Choose organic cotton
The Soil Association told the Environmental Audit Committee that increasing organic cotton production could minimize the environmental impact of the fashion industry, as it would reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and water.
7. Watch your washing
A 6kg domestic wash has the potential to release as many as 700,000 fibers into the environment, which should make you think twice before you pop stuff in the laundry you’ve only worn once. Washing on a lower temperature uses less energy, and adopting simple habits, like turning clothes inside out, will increase wear ability.