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The Hidden Cost of Clothing
It may come as a surprise, but plastic is used in clothing garments far more than you might think. Although plastic is designed to last indefinitely, clothings are not. Plastics is included in polyester and all the synthetic fibers, and the damage does not end with the manufacturing process.
According to the World Bank, water pollution is a “invisible crisis,” and the textile industry is largely responsible for its excessive water consumption at all stages of the supply chain. As cotton fields abound in pesticides that pollute rivers, production processes release multiple harmful chemicals, and the washing process constantly spread micro-plastic, the situazione has never been more pressing.
Microfibres enter our sewage systems and end up in our oceans, polluting them and infecting their flora and fauna. Recent research has shown that circulating plastics emit greenhouse gases as they degrade and infect the oceans, posing a threat to our marine ecosystems and, as a result, to our health.
What are the solutions, and what can we as consumers and brands do about them? Naturally, there are no simple solutions when it comes to materials and large manufacturing processes. We'd know if there was one. However, building a more sustainable fashion industry by purchasing from brands which adhere to precise criteria (see our 7 sustainability principles) and taking responsible actions together will encourage the movement to end the exploitation of our oceans and save marine life.
The first great step is to buy clothing from sustainable, certified brands and to change consumption patterns by being mindful and aware.
Circular Economy - UK, USA, Europe, Asia & South America - The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (n.d.) https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/
Scott, M. (2020, September 18). Out Of Fashion - The Hidden Cost Of Clothing Is A Water Pollution Crisis. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikescott/2020/09/19/out-of-fashionthe-hidden-cost-of-clothing-is-a-water-pollution-crisis/?sh=5a9079be589c