University of Manchester researchers have warned that the fashion industry must make urgent and fundamental changes to prevent damaging environmental damage.
The fashion industry is the world’s biggest industrial polluter after the aviation industry, accounting for 10 percent of all global pollution. Britons buy more clothes per person than other European countries, with only a small amount of used clothing being reused or recycled; less than one percent of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing.
The environmental impact of the fashion industry – specifically the fast fashion industry, which is based on the fast cycle of cheap, mass-produced, disposable clothing that is often made from man-made fibers – has been a major concern in recent years. However, the fast fashion industry continues to grow and accelerate, driven in large part by the popularity of cheap online fashion retailers such as Asos, Boohoo and Missguided.
A paper published in Reviews of Earth’s Nature and Environment has examined environmental impacts throughout the textile and fashion chain from production to consumption, focusing on water use, chemical pollution, carbon emissions, and textile waste. The researchers found that each year the fashion industry is responsible for more than 92 million tons of waste and consumption of 1.5tn liters of water, in addition to chemical pollution and carbon emissions.
“We highlight the need for urgent and fundamental changes in the fashion business model to minimize and reduce adverse environmental impacts,” said Dr. Patsy Perry, an expert on the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry.
“The transition from fast to slow mode requires a slowdown in production volumes, the introduction of sustainable practices throughout the supply chain and a shift in consumer behavior to reduce the number of new clothes purchased and increase the lifetime of the garment.
“Such systemic changes can increase the long-term sustainability of the fashion supply chain.”
Reducing the broad environmental impact of the fashion industry will require dramatic changes, including steps towards “slow fashion” and more sustainable practices, such as fewer design cycles and the construction of durable clothing made from high-quality materials.
Professor Kirsi Niinimäki, co-author of the paper and design expert at Aalto University, added: “Slow mode is the future, but we need a broad system understanding of how to transition to this model, requiring creativity and collaboration between designers and manufacturers, various stakeholders, and end consumers. “
He warned that the industry would not only be asked to make fundamental changes to their practices, but consumers would also have the responsibility to change their habits.
Last year, the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee held an investigation of the impact of fast mode, concluding that the industry was “not sustainable”. MPs report that the industry contributes to climate change more than the entire industry; consume a volume of freshwater the size of a lake (with cotton which is considered a serious offender), and produce chemical and plastic pollution that reaches the deep sea and is found in sea creatures.
The fast fashion industry also often relies on child labor, prison workers, bonded workers and forced laborers, with “excessive consumption of clothing” […] based on the globalization of indifference to this manual worker “.
The Committee recommends to the Conservative Government that they impose a 1p levy on each clothing sold to get £ 35 million per year to support the recycling of clothing. Proposal rejected.
Register to E&T News email to get great stories like these delivered to your inbox every day.
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]