Do you purchase clothes every weekend or every month? Do you throw your clothes out after 4 or 5 times of usage or maybe after only 1 time to keep up with the current fast fashion? Or you try to recycle them by using the fabric for other purposes or simply giving it to the needy?

I am sure you might have heard about increasing pollution leading to global warming and ultimately climate change.

I know you might be asking what the relationship between clothes i.e. fashion industry and climate change is!

Let’s understand by 2 terms

1) Fashion

2) Sustainable Fashion

Fashion

India is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs), after China and the US.

Do you know the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions! This industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined.

And this number is growing owing to fast fashion and may go up to 50% by 2030. Overwhelming isn’t it!

Cotton & Polyester

Also, two-third of the emissions are from raw materials. Thus if we try to improve the way how the cotton or the polyester is produced, warming up to 1.5oC above pre-industrial revolution levels can be reduced. Then the development will be in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Percentage of impact on climate caused by various fabrics

Source: https://commonobjective-uploads.storage.googleapis.com/images/wysiwyg/What-are-our-clothes-made-from-6c3.png

Also if you want to know the life cycle of your cotton T-Shirts, I have this video for you!

Life cycle of cotton

During manufacturing

Coming back, polyester is basically plastic-like material made from coal, oil, and water, which when breaks down forms microplastics/microfibers, which later end up in the seas and oceans and harm the marine ecosystem. This can even become part of the food chain!

If I tell you the statistics, every year, half a million tons of plastic microfibers are dumped into the ocean, the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.  If this continues the microfibers concentration will soon outgrow the pollution caused by the dumping of plastic bottles.

Also, polyester is not only polluting but also harsh on the human body as it can cause rashes and other problems. TAP to read more!

So here if the industries start manufacturing new clothes, according to figures from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it takes 3,781 liters of water to make just a pair of jeans, from the production of the cotton to the delivery of the final product to the store. That being said, emissions of around 33.4 kilograms of carbon equivalent are emitted in the process.

If that is for just one pair of jeans, imagine the environmental cost of clothes hoarded in the wardrobe.

Every year the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water — enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people. Save water!

Around 20 % of wastewater worldwide comes from fabric dyeing and treatment. Thus it is also a threat to freshwater and thus agriculture. To know the carcinogenic effects of chemicals and other impacts on humans you can visit HERE.

Polluted water

Source: https://pacificenvironment.org/wp-content/uploads/archive/Tweet-300×243.jpg

After manufacturing

After the manufacturing stage, energy used in transporting, packaging, and selling the material also contributes to carbon emissions, thus impacting climate change.

Also if you are thinking that after purchasing clothes its job of causing the pollution is done. Then you are wrong!

After usage, less than 1% of clothes are recycled into new clothes. This means that all other (roughly 99%) clothes end up in the landfill or are incinerated. Thus causing more carbon emissions and hence climate change.

Clothes in landfill

Source: https://www.trustedclothes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Textile-landfill-waste.jpg

Sustainable Fashion

To be honest, there is no such term called 100% Sustainable Fashion. However, this includes reducing the carbon emissions up to the maximum limit that we discussed earlier. And to achieve this you can follow these tips –

What can YOU do?

So, I want you to meet this inspiring woman, who is working on giving new shape to waste cloth material. This is also known as ‘Upcycling’. I bet you will gather a new perspective about clothes and will not rush to stores!

Taking waste material to the wardrobe

1) Be creative in Mix & Match and within no time you will find your new wardrobe ready!

2) Recycle them after they wear out (e.g. to clean the windows, mop the floor, etc)

3) Getting clothes of linen. Skeptical? Check out the video link!

4) Repair clothing (Do not use as single use)

5) Donate to the needy when no longer used

6) Buy according to your NEED, NOT GREED.

In some countries, 40 % of purchased clothing is never used.

7) Buy second-hand clothing.

8) Reduce shopping: average person today buys 60 % more clothing than in 2000. And buying more leads to more discarding of clothes.

To know more tips, I have this for you. CLICK HERE

Correlation

You saw the Fashion and Sustainable Fashion, right!

So lastly, to sum up, the development which fulfills the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability to meet future generation needs is defined as ‘Sustainable Development’.

So here the development was compromising on future needs by creating Climate Change. Thus it was not sustainable!

That is the difference when they say going towards Sustainable Fashion instead of Fashion alone.

…the use of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels!

…going vegan instead of having meat!

go for Zero hunger instead of composting food!

...going towards Sustainable Development and not simply development!

So that our future generations can enjoy the fruits of nature we are enjoying!

Enjoy reading other blogs from the same Author

1) 3 Reasons why Lord Ganesha is happy and not happy with you

2) Whose job is to segregate the waste? You or…

3) Save your favorite polar bears from THIS, before it’s too late!

4) Do you also think Carbon Dioxide is the destructive component in Climate Change?! Not really!

5) 5 Reasons how Climate Change is driving Malnutrition and Obesity at the same time

References

1) https://www.commonobjective.co/article/can-fashion-stop-climate-change#:~:text=The%20fashion%20industry’s%20carbon%20emissions&text=It’s%20estimated%20that%20around%20two,)%20or%20cotton%20(21%25).

2) https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2019/09/23/costo-moda-medio-ambiente

3) https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-profile-india

4) https://unfccc.int/news/un-helps-fashion-industry-shift-to-low-carbon

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