By 2030, there will be 5.4 billion people in the global middle class, up from 3 billion in 2015. We can expect increased demand for clothes and other goods that define middle-income lifestyles. If consumption continues at its current rate, we’ll need three times as many natural resources by 2050 compared to what we used in 2000.
Ave consumer bought 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long.
Burberry brought in $3.6 b in revenue in 2017 and destroyed $36.8 m of its own merchandise. In July 2018, the brand admitted in its annual report that demolishing goods was just part of its strategy to preserve its reputation of exclusivity.
H&M had burned 60 tons of new and unsold clothes since 2013.
Many of the chemicals are banned or strictly regulated in various countries because they are:
Toxic, bioaccumulative (meaning substance builds up in an organism faster than the organism can excrete or metabolize it), disruptive to hormones, and carcinogenic.
Polyester is the most popular fabric used for fashion. But when polyester garments are washed in domestic washing machines, they shed microfibers that add to the increasing levels of plastic in our oceans. These microfibers are minute and can easily pass through sewage and wastewater treatment plants into our waterways, but because they do not biodegrade, they represent a serious threat to aquatic life.
Most cotton grown worldwide is genetically modified to be resistant to the bollworm pest, thereby improving yield and reducing pesticide use. But this can also lead to problems further down the line, such as emergence of ‘superweeds’ which are resistant to standard pesticide. Organic cotton represents less than 1 per cent of the world’s total annual cotton crop.
Patagonia was the first outdoor clothing brand to make polyester fleece out f plastic bottles. In 2017, it decided to rationalize its t-shirt ranges and from spring 2018, will offer only 2 fabric options of 100% organic cotton or a blend of recycle cotton and recycled polyester.
9-14 trillion tons of apparel in landfills annually
A couple years ago, we were at 20 garments per person each year; today in the US, an average person buys about 68 garments per year.
.1 % of all clothing collected by charities and take-back programs is recycled into new textile fiber
Slow Fashion vs. Fast Fashion
Traditional cycles of 2 cycles/year
Fast Fashion is up to 50 cycles/year
It takes 2700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt
Enough water for one person to drink for 2.5 years
About 20% of industrialized water pollution is due to garment manufacturing, while the world uses 5 trillion liters (1.3 trillion gallons) of water each year for fabric dyeing alone, enough to fill 2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
A polyester shirt has more than double the carbon footprint of a cotton shirt (5.5 kg vs 2.1 kg or 12.1 pound vs 4.6 ounds)
Polyester production for textiles released about 706 billion kg (1.5 trillion pounds ) of greenhouse gases in 2015, the equivalent of 185 coal fired power plants’ annual emissions