The Challenge: Create Less Fabric Waste
Of the 100 billion garments produced each year, 92 million tons end up in landfills. To put things in perspective, this means that the equivalent of a garbage truck full of clothes ends up on landfill sites every second. In America alone, an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste – equivalent to 85% of all textiles – end up in landfills on a yearly basis. That’s equivalent to approximately 81.5 pounds per person per year and around 2,150 pieces per second countrywide.
The throwaway culture has worsened progressively over the years. At present, many items are worn only seven to ten times before being tossed. That’s a decline of more than 35% in just 15 years.
Dying and finishing – the processes by which color and other chemicals are applied to fabrics – are responsible for 3% of global CO2 emissions as well as over 20% of global water pollution. Nearly 10% of microplastics dispersed in the ocean each year come from textiles. Globally, just 12% of the material used for clothing ends up being recycled. The amount of water needed to produce one t-shirt is the equivalent to the amount of water one person needs to drink over a period 900 days!*
While there’s no escaping the need for clothing, or the desire to look clean, presentable, and moderately fashionable, there are ways to lessen the impact of our fashion choices.
*Igini, M. (2022, November 18). 10 stunning fast fashion waste statistics. Earth.Org. Retrieved December 22, 2022, from https://earth.org/statistics-about-fast-fashion-waste/#:~:text=The%20Average%20US%20Consumer%20Throws,landfills%20on%20a%20yearly%20basis.