The fashion week season has come to a close. But one fashion industry trend has managed to keep up its pace: Fast fashion, one of the largest sources of pollution in the world today.
A recent report has found that more greenhouse gas is emitted by the textile industry than international aviation and shipping combined. To add to that, the amount of junk produced by the industry, as well as how much water and resources it consumes, is going up day by day.
Global production of garments has more than doubled since 2000.
The average person now purchases 60 percent more clothing items each year and keeps them for about half as long as they would have done 15 years ago. In the USA, the fate of over 85 percent of those clothes is ending up in a dumpster.
China takes the lead in worldwide textile production and recycling by producing 50 percent of the world’s textiles and importing the largest amount of recycled clothing.
But it has been battling with pollution from the industry for decades. Most recycled clothing from all around the world ends up routed there and turned into yarn; but starting this year, China will take necessary measures by implementing a ban on the import of 24 solid materials including textile fabrics.
According to Nate Herman, the Senior Vice President of Supply Chain for the American Apparel & Footwear Association, things are going to take a turn for worse. In conversation with VICE News, he stated, “They have cut the source materials for recycled fabrics. It will have a very negative effect on our efforts to make the industry more sustainable.”
But the matters at hand are even worsened by the current difficulty of recycling clothes. Most of our clothing comes from blended fabrics or synthetic materials; it often takes up more time and resources to recycle them compared to producing new clothes.
Some industry experts, like Ellen MacArthur whose foundation has taken the lead in creating a circular economy for textiles, estimates that waste generated from textiles amounts to nearly $500 billion a year. He also believes that the fashion industry needs to venture beyond plain better recycling.
Efforts are being tested that will help transform the textile economy; some big companies like H&M and Nike have shown interest in the movement.