As we all know fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industry. The voracious consumer is buying clothes in a compulsive manner and dumping them in the same way. Satisfying this thirst comes with a price, unceremoniously 70% of this goes to landfill and 30% out of this is incinerated. After Oil, Fashion industry is largest polluter in the world. Every year, approx 200 million pounds (90.7 million kg) of clothing ends up in New York City’s landfill sites – the equivalent of filling the Statue of Liberty with garments 440 times. In Hong Kong daily approx 253 tons of textiles is sent to landfill. In UK 235 million items were dumped in landfill in 2017. These statistics and numbers cant be ignored and are very alarming at the same time.
However clothing contributes to half a million tonnes of microfibre pollution into the ocean, the equivalent to 50 bn plastic bottles. These microfibers come from polyester, nylon, acrylic and synthetic fabrics which have a big problem as when they’re washed, tiny plastic bits called microfibers are released that flows into the drains and out into our rivers, lakes and oceans by the billions in a pervasive way. These tiny micro fibers are extremely small and almost invisible and even sewage treatment plants cannot effectively filter out all these microfibers.
Even the big brands are destroying their so called “Dead stock” or unsold stock. Not only this, waste is also produced from the off-cuts from the production process. So be it post production or post consumer the fashion industry is arguably just as harmful to our precious waters as plastic waste is.
Moving towards Minimalism
Younger generation is more driven towards minimalist aesthetics. The idea ‘Less is More” is the main essence of Minimalism which should be followed by everyone now. Supporting slow fashion labels, giving new life to existing clothes and sending minimal or no clothes to landfills is all about fashion sustainability. It is wrong to think that style and sustainable fashion don’t go hand in hand. Slimming down wardrobe and not being an impulsive buyer are the major traits of sustainable fashion.
Reduce Reuse Recycle Repeat – for Fashion Brands
95% of the clothes can be reused, recycled or up-cycled or re-worn instead of sending them to the landfills. Many fashion brands are offering discount vouchers in return of used clothes from the consumers. They then up-cycle these clothes to be used again. Unlike recycling up-cyclying does not break down the fabric into fibre and create a new fabric rather transform them into something which is better than its original by design and value additions.
So Consumers or Fashion Brands both have a lot of option to reduce the fashion waste problem and move as much towards sustainability.