News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
Making the best out of fashion waste
News Source/Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The environmental alarm call

Sustainability issues in fashion are strongly rising from the beginning of the production process till the end of left-out production and over-consumption. Consumers worldwide keep buying more clothes, the market of fast and cheap fashion keeps growing, and the newly-styled social media updates keep increasing. On average, people annually bought 60% more garments from the year 2014 than they did in the 2000s, and this proportion has only grown higher every year. Today, fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions including drying up water sources and polluting rivers and streams. How? 85% of all the textiles go to the dump each year. Washing certain fabrics and materials sends thousands of bits of plastic to the ocean. Average fashion companies have been offering 4 to 5 collections per year in the last decade, while some brands have gone to even more to win the race of fast fashion. Brands like Zara offer 24 collections, while H&M does 12 to 16 collections per year. The sad part is that a lot of this clothing ends up in the dump, specifically by brands that are trying to copy these fast-fashion giants. An equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second. Meanwhile, washing clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibres into the oceans each year – this is the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. Many of those fibres are polyester; producing polyester releases 2 to 3 times more carbon emissions than cotton, and polyester does not break down in the ocean. The 2017 report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that 35% of all microplastics – very small pieces of plastic that never biodegrade – in

the ocean came from the laundering of synthetic textiles like polyester. Overall, 31% of the pollution in the ocean has been composed of that, which is an extremely alarming number. It seems like the fashion industry solely is more responsible for emissions than all the international flights and maritime shipping combined. According to a 2017 report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if the fashion industry continues on its current trajectory, its share of the carbon budget could reach disturbing figures by 2050. The industry is already being speculated to become the 2nd largest consumer of water worldwide. 700 gallons of water already goes into producing one shirt which is enough to drink for at least 3 years, or 9 cups daily for one person. 2000 gallons of water is used to produce one pair of jeans – that’s more than 10 years for one person to drink. Fashion causes water pollution problems too as textile dyeing is the world’s second-largest polluter of water. The dyes and chemicals are dumped into ditches, streams, or rivers, and the dyeing process uses enough water to fill 2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools each year. The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide. Thankfully, some apparel companies have opened their eyes to this impending disaster and are starting to buck these ongoing trends by joining initiatives to rapidly cut back on textile pollution.

Awakening at last and working on solutions

Some designers started this revolution years ago with very few ethical supporters believing in them, but the coming times only expanded the awareness and demand. None other than the ethical fashion leader Stella McCartney hosted an event with Dame Ellen at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2017 setting out a new vision for the fashion industry to follow. The report submitted at the meet had future objectives of planning the best capacities to recycle fashion waste, and that brands could go forward with offering better solutions and helping the environmental issues. Over the period of time, major brands have started taking their first steps

towards radically changing the way they source, produce, buy, and retain clothes. They’re removing all the plastic microfibres and transforming the new clothing line to make it more long-lasting and exclusively classic. They’re turning the clothes as vintage, promoting wearing them for decades, providing a culture and mindset of longevity. The leftover wastage of fashion goods is also now being considered by respectable brands for recycling by implementing some fabulous ‘nip-tuck-make it new’ ideas, using patchwork, or converting them into funky accessories to conceal their durability. This is a spectacular idea as increasing the appeal of renewed pieces will cut down the waste wherever possible. Reusing fabrics that can be bought from wastage and reducing production methods that use colossal amounts of water could do wonders rather than producing more and more to give in to the demands. Supporting organic fabric is one way of doing it, but recycling the waste and reusing that pile by buying it back is a truly brilliant way to safeguard some peace and preservation in the making.

Honouring the earth

Every year, on 22nd April the world celebrates Global Earth Day. Events and summits are held worldwide to show support for environmental protection and what we can do in our best capacity to prevent all living beings on planet earth from future disasters. It’s no longer a myth what’s happening around us; once considered a modern life is widely causing environmental harm. Global warming is for real and Earth is facing some serious challenges which have been time and again highlighted by all the big leaders and experts on international platforms. This year, most of the initiatives in the fashion industries have started putting the spotlight on how we should manage the fashion waste and what are the best possible ways to utilize it back into production. If one can achieve that well, there will be another revolution of its own which will be a part of the more mindful and sustainable way of life. Consumers have started putting their focus on ethical purchases and enlightened people wish to adopt and change with the coming times so that they can offer a better future to their next generations. While some businesses may be using this resolve as another lucrative strategy to master in the faster game, so as to capitalize on this ethical concept in the time of need, the fact of the matter is that fashion waste is powerfully potential to be a real game-changer if it is recycled right.

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News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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