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Environmental Impact of The Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is the world's third-largest manufacturing sector, valued at 2.4 billion U.S.D. Most of the world's clothes are produced in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) which means clothes are produced fast and cheap. A lot of low-cost clothing stores have new clothing designs every week. So what effect does this have on the environment?

The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to water waste. Every year on average the industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water, that's enough to meet the water needs of 5 million people. What is used in textile design the water waste then goes untreated and is discharged into local water systems. This water waste often contains hazardous materials such as heavy metals, plastic microfibers, and other toxins that could have an impact on the health of the animals and people within the area. Microfibers are one of the most dangerous outputs of the Fashion industry. This is because microfibers cannot be extracted from the water therefore they spread them out the food chain. Every year but we half a million tons of plastic microfibers I dumped into the ocean that is the equivalent of 50 billion plastic water bottles. Not only does the industry produce high amounts of water waste it is also responsible for 10% of the global carbon emissions. This number is expected to increase by 2030 part of this is because about 60% of garments are made with polyester. Producing polyester creates three times more carbon emissions then cotton and does not put down in the ocean. Do you microfibers composer to 31% of the plastic pollution in the ocean.


With everything going into the creation of articles of clothing what happens to these garments? The truth is 87% of garments and up incinerated or in landfills this equivalents to roughly 1 garbage truck of textiles every second. This could be because the average human buys 60% more clothing than in 2000. Roughly $700 million worth, 500,000 tons, of “used” clothing that is not sent directly to landfills, to be incinerated, or not so in second-hand clothing stores in the United States are compressed into thousand-pound bills. These are then shipped overseas to LMIC’s to be ”graded” -sorted, categorized, and re-bailed- by very low wage workers. They are then sold in second-hand markets, if they aren't sold they become solid waste, clogging rivers, greenways, and parks. This causes environmental problems in our I see because they lack the robust municipal waste system necessary for better disposal.


What can be done? While the fashion industry as a whole is still not sure what to do and wanted to limit the environmental impact did you know that something needs to be done? When idea that is but is recycling coming which is when you take an old client of clothes and then they go through a process in there we sold an American market. The issue with this is that it is still unclear what the environmental impact of this process is if it is just as bad as creating new garments. I don’t think I suggested is once you are done with your clothes instead of throwing donating them to a company that takes secondhand clothing such as Goodwill. A more industrial revolution is switching to sustainable fibers such as Lyocell which is made from the cellulose of bamboo in a closed-loop production cycle where 99% of the chemicals used to develop the fibers are recycled minimizing the environmental impact.


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