When one thinks of global warming, two ideas often come to mind for different people. The ice caps are melting, or “fake news.” Greenhouse effect, immense plastic waste, and deforestation are all contributing to climate change. One industry that contributes to destruction of the ozone layer, often forgotten, is the mass production of fashion.
The sourcing of products has slowly become a more widely discussed topic. But, it only continues to still get limited attention. As clothes are a basic necessity and worn by just about every being in the world, it is one of the leading industries for pollution and waste. It is estimated billions of tons of clothes go into landfills each year in the US alone. Many assume that donating to thrift stores helps decrease the waste, but a majority of clothes donated still end up being thrown away. This all ties back to the constantly changing trends.
Consumers are finding cheap brands such as Zaful, Forever 21, and Brandy Melville that offer unlimited styles of the new styles at reasonable prices, allowing customers to buy high quantities. This alone would not be as harmful. The only major environmental effect would be the emission output during the creation of fabrics. But, clothes constantly being labeled as “last season” causes a majority of the garments bought to be worn a limited amount for only a few months and then hopefully, at the bare minimum, donated. In reality more clothes are unfortunately thrown away rather than upcycled, recycled, or put to more use through thrift stores.
On top of the waste being added, the unethical sourcing causes products to be more harmful to the environment. The pollution released while the textiles are created are often harmful as it’s the cheapest form. But, once the clothes reach landfills, they are left for years to come as they can not be burned due to the CO2 produced and degrade at extremely slow rates. Garments are killing the world just as quickly as straws are killing the sea turtles.
Fast fashion poses more threats to the environment than it offers benefits to their consumers. There is truly no objective of buying clothes to wear if there will be no world left to wear them in.
Photo Credit: The New Daily