How the Fashion Industry Destroys the Environment: Only 3% of Apparel Is Sustainable

EHRC web recently quoted me in their article about the environmental impact of fast fashion. For the full article please visit EHRC


How the Fashion Industry Destroys the Environment

We all love to dress well, and while there’s no harm in that, the fashion industry has been taking a dangerous turn in the past few decades. The rapidly evolving fashion trends are pushing for higher production rates of garments. What’s more alarming is the garments’ disposal rate.

Only 3% of Apparel Is Sustainable

In a world with a population of 7.9 billion people, 80 billion apparel items are consumed annually! Yet only 3% of the market share is sustainable.

Thanks to pressures from trends, social media, and changing seasons, on average, these garments are worn just 7 times, resulting in a dumpster truck full of clothes being dumped into a landfill every second in the USA.

Current rates of consumption and production are not sustainable. There are finite resources on our planet, and the ones we have are already being polluted by chemical runoff and GHG emissions.

We need large corporations to take responsibility for their actions. To produce only what is needed, break away from the need for new seasons and current trends, and manufacture their goods ethically and sustainably.

A Sustainable Business Model Is Possible

New, more environmentally friendly materials are available. Companies can offset their carbon footprint, operate on closed-loop systems and use renewable energy. They should be helping to educate consumers, offer repair and mend services as well as design garments that last.

At a consumer level, we need to be thinking about alternative ways to shop. Upcycling the clothes we already own, swapping with our friends or in local groups, shopping from thrift and charity shops so that garments can stay in use for longer.

We need to break away from the 1990s fast-fashion mindset and move back to the 1950s attitude of caring for the things we own, and loving them for longer – so that our natural environment can continue to provide us with fresh water to drink and clean air to breathe.

Samantha Tollworthy - Marine Biologist and now founder of sustainable sock company Teddy Locks

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