The fashion industry needs to change fundamentally to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion, experts say.
Renting clothes, better recycling processes, pollution control technology and innovative use of pieces are some steps that can help, they said.
The researchers produced a report – published in a journal Nature & Earth Reviews – into the cost of the industrial environment, and how it needs to be changed to deal with several related issues.
While these figures are debated, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated the fashion industry generates 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions each year, while it is estimated to use around 1.5 trillion liters of water each year. Meanwhile worries are rising about pollution, from chemical waste to microplastic.
“This is truly a global problem,” said Dr. Patsy Perry, research co-author from Manchester University.
Perry and a group of international colleagues point out that the global nature of the fashion industry means clothing may have traveled the world several times during manufacture, while it is estimated that if 3% of garment transportation shifts from ships to air cargo – rapidly developing trends in the industry – this can produce emissions carbon is more than 100% more than if all garment transportation was by ship.
The team also demonstrated the consumption of industrial water, carbon dioxide emissions, textile waste, and the use of chemicals – substances which they say pose not only environmental risks, but also health risks for those involved in this industry. “In one example, one European textile finishing company used more than 466g of chemicals per kilogram of textiles,” they wrote.
And while many clothes are designed in the US or EU, they are often produced in developing countries. The team said that not only increases fabric waste through poor communication requirements, but pollution regulations are often less stringent in producing countries. “Waste water flows into fresh water flow and pollutes rivers where people fish [and] live from, “Perry said.
The report emphasizes that limited natural resources means the fashion industry must change, and establishes a number of ways that can become greener, including embracing renewable energy and developing new methods for recycling, and reducing the use of polyester – non-biodegradable fibers. , produced from petrochemicals, which dominates the fashion industry.
They also argue that the industry should focus on producing goods that are long-lived and of better quality, while innovations such as leasing clothing and new approaches for resale must be increased.
But they added: “Consumers must understand fashion more as a functional product than entertainment, and be prepared to pay a higher price that takes into account the environmental impact of fashion.”
This is not the first time the fast mode has been debated. Last year, lawmakers in Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) proposes a number of steps, including a 1p fee for each new clothing item to fund better recycling and collection. All were rejected by the government.
Libby Peake of the Green Alliance said Britain had special problems with fast fashion.
“We buy more clothes per head than any other country in Europe, including nearly twice the Italians, who are better known for their fashion sense,” he said.
In addition to stressing the need to improve quality and clothing rental schemes, he said, the report highlights the importance of buying used clothing. Industry-led initiatives to reduce environmental costs are ineffective while consumption continues to increase.
“Slow mode is the only sustainable future for the industry and the planet,” he said.
Bring Somers. one of the founders of the Fashion Revolution campaignIt also stresses the use of chemicals in the fashion industry, as indicated by the new report, of particular concern, especially in clothing made outside the European Union where it is difficult to know what substances have been used.
Prof. Steve Evans, an expert in industrial sustainability at Cambridge University, also welcomed the report. But he said it was unclear how the proportion of industrial environmental impacts fell to fast mode per se. The main challenge for the “closed loop” industry is that various sectors, from production to retail and recycling, must start working together.
But Evans said that a future where the level of production and disposal of fiber was reduced did not necessarily mean scarcity of new clothing, if the clothes were rented or resold. “This may be fast fashion from a fashionista’s perspective,” he said, “but it’s slow from a planetary perspective.”
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