Inconvenient truth:
fashion is one of the most polluting industries of the world.

The pollution produced by the textile industry has a huge impact on the planet, and reasons are quite easy to understand. Clothes are probably the most common items that people buy in today’s world, and the average number of clothes that an individual buys every year increased drastically in the recent years: a research from a McKinsey & Company showed that the number of garments produced annually became double since 2000 and exceeded 100 billion pieces for the first time in 2014.

According to the Lenzing group, the world’s textile consumption was 95.6 millions of tons in 2015. Due to the numbers that the fashion industry generates, the impact on the environment can be truly deep and damaging.    

The main environmental problems caused by the textile industry include water pollution, air pollution and solid waste pollution.

The textile industry uses millions of gallons of water everyday. That's because to produce 1 kg of fabric, typically, 200 litres of water are consumed: washing the fiber, bleaching, dyeing and then cleaning the finished product.

The problem does not rest in the high usage, though, but in the fact that often waste waters are not treated to remove pollutants before they are disposed in the environment.

As a consequence, according to some studies 20 percent of all fresh water pollution is made by textile treatment and dyeing

The high volumes of water and discarded in the textile producing process are responsible for aquatic life toxicity.

Substances such as formaldehyde, chlorine and heavy metals are disposed into water bodies and they are consumed in daily activities by a large number of people.

According to some studies, the apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and is the second largest industrial polluter.

Specifically, air pollutants produced by the textile industry include:

  • nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxide produced in the energy production stages;

  • volatile organic components (VOCs) produced in coating, curing, drying, waste water treatment and chemical storage;

  • aniline vapours, carrier Hydrogen sulphide, chlorine and chlorine dioxide produced in dyeing and bleaching stages. 

The textile industry also produces lots of solid waste.

Globally, each year, about 90 million items of clothing end up in landfills.

 

Moreover, the waste produced ends up in water bodies, causing environmental issues.  

Some of the pollutants that end up in landfills include:

 

  • Fiber lint, fiber scraps, trimmings and packaging waste produced in the fiber preparation

  • Wasted and retained sludge in waste water treatment

  • Flock, chemical and dye containers used in dyeing and finishing of woven fabrics 

This various kind of pollution released in the environment by the textile industry are becoming dangerous, both for the planet and for human being.

A new approach to the production, consumption and disposal of apparel has become absolutely necessary. 

 

greenofchange® is an alternative, sustainable solution applied to the whole garment finishing process, that can produce an important saving of resources and can radically reduce the release of hazardous chemicals in the environment.    

Sources

 

  • Fibre2fashion

  • Pulse of The Fashion Industry Report 2018

  • Ethicalunicorn

  • Fabricoftheworld

  • Changingmarkets

  • Forbes

  • Smallbusiness

  • Onegreenplanet

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