The effect of the fashion industry on our planet has been widely reported, however, it can be difficult to understand the full extent of the issue when there are conflicting opinions circulating. For example, a statistic that is repeatedly used is that fashion is the second most polluting industry, despite there not being research available to accurately make such a statement.
To simplify a very complex issue, there are four main ways that our clothes create pollution: their production creates greenhouse gasses, pollute waterways, use huge amounts of water and fill landfills. These are mainly the result of large companies turning a blind eye to environmental issues but also the fault of us, the consumer, for cleaning our clothes too often and throwing them away too easily.
In order for us all to enjoy flexing our latest pick-ups with a clear conscience, a lot of things have to change in the industry - which is starting (very slowly) to come into fruition. To show the extent of the issue, and to provide you with some ammunition if you find yourself debating this topic, here are the four most shocking facts about the environmental cost of looking good.
235 million items of clothing were sent to landfill in the UK in 2017 (House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee submissions)
Producing 1kg of cotton in India consumes an average 22,500 liters of water (Water Footprint Network)
- 1kg of fabric generates an average of 23kg of greenhouse gases (Mckinsey)
- Dyeing and treatment of garments is estimated to make up 17-20% of all industrial water pollution (World Bank)
If you are looking for more information on fashions impact on the environment, check out our article on the best documentaries covering the matter.