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Overproduction & Overconsumption: Have We Had Enough?

Fashion & Styles Opinion

How many clothing items have you bought in the past month? In this day and age, it is hard not to be tempted with new collections that come into the shops every season. Even when there is no more room in our closets, we cannot resist the urge to buy those brand new items that are just more fashionable/colorful/cuter than our old clothes. 

Nowadays, when fashion brands are focused on mass manufacturing of cheap clothing and delivering frequent new collections, more people buy more clothes and don’t keep them as long as they used to. By tempting shoppers with constant newness retailers have managed to convince us that the clothes we already have are no longer in style and that we have to get new ones. However, before you splurge on a bunch of things you don’t really need just because there is a huge ‘Sale’ sign on the door, consider the impact the fast fashion has on the environment.

Maybe you consider yourself an eco-friendly person. Maybe you recycle, use reusable water bottles, ride your bike to work and turn off the AC every time you head out the door. However, landfills all over the world are overflowing, and like it or not, the reason for this is hiding in your closet.

Fast fashion has a negative environmental impact, causes water pollution, and is rapidly increasing levels of textile waste. In fact, the fashion industry it is the second-largest polluter on the planet, just after the oil industry, and the first step toward mitigating this problem lies in spreading awareness and building willingness to change.

Waste accumulation

These days we buy tons of fashionable, but low-quality clothing items that quickly find their way to the landfills. It has been estimated that only 15% is recycled or donated, and the rest is thrown away. Unfortunately, synthetic fibers that are used in 72% of our clothing take up to 200 years to decompose. 

If you want to reduce your environmental impact, opt for natural or semi-synthetic fibers, buy less of better quality clothes and recycle them.

GFW Clothing is the first company to offer their customers a method to sell on their shirts to others wanting them thus extending their life. Check out the pre-loved group at GFW Clothing pre-loved.

You can also choose to buy products made from recycled materials, such as high quality Rockay socks for running. Some sports brands are dedicated to reducing their impact on the planet by focusing on organic materials and eco-friendly production cycles, so you can easily find durable, quality gear made of recycled bottles from the oceans.

Below is a visual representation of water pollution and how waste, nylon and fishing nets harm the environment and our oceans. 

Infographic source: https://rockay.com/

Water pollution

The ugly truth is that in most parts of the world toxic wastewaters that come from textiles factories are being dumped directly into the rivers every day. These wastewaters contain lead, mercury, arsenic and many more substances that are harmful not only for the aquatic life but to put the health of millions of people living by those rivers banks. 

Also, fertilizers used for cotton production heavily pollute runoff waters and evaporation waters. Therefore, the next time you go shopping, opt for clothes that are made in countries with strict environmental regulations for factories and choose organic fibers that do not require chemicals to be produced.

Water consumption

The devastating fact is that the fashion industry uses 1.5 trillion liters of water every year. Fresh water is used in dyeing and finishing process for all of our clothes. Just one ton of dyed fabric can take up to 200 tons of fresh water, not the mention that cotton needs a lot of water to grow. All of this is having dramatic ecological consequences such as the desertification of the Aral Sea. 

What is even more disturbing is that 750 million people over the world do not have access to drinking water. So how can you do something about it? Buy clothes made from fibers with low water consumption such as linen and recycled fibers.

Microfibers in our oceans

Every time you wash something made out of polyester or nylon, almost 2,000 individual microfibers are released into the water and eventually end up in the ocean. Small aquatic organisms that ingest them are later eaten by small fish which are later eaten by bigger fish. And you know who eats bigger fish? That’s right, people. By washing synthetic garments we introduce plastic in our food chains. This is why it is recommendable to choose only natural or semi-synthetic fibers. 

So you see, when it comes to fashion, there are so many things you can do to reduce your environmental impact. Ensure the longevity of your clothes with proper care, shop at thrift shops, recycle, and most importantly, only buy clothes you know you will wear for a long time.


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