We are walking plastic bags

If the fashion industry were a country it would be the 4th largest emitter of C02 in the world. To put that into perspective, it accounts for roughly 10% of global carbon emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater.

Specifically, polyester (the most common fabric used in clothing), Acrylic and Nylon, is produced from roughly 70 million barrels of oil every year. One single polyester shirt produces the equivalent of nearly 5.5kg of carbon dioxide. This is incredibly worrisome considering 65% of the clothing we wear is polymer-based.

To add to this, not only is Polyester non-biodegradable, it is the biggest source of micro-plastics in our oceans. Up to 2000 fibers are washed off one textile product every time you wash it, causing irreparable damage to marine life and our vital ecosystems.

Switching to recycled polyester fabric can help to reduce carbon emissions. This is because recycled polyester releases half to a quarter of the emissions of virgin polyester; however, it isn’t a long-term solution.

Virgin or recycled, polyester takes hundreds of years to decompose and can lead to micro-fibers escaping into the environment. Cotton on the other hand, a material often considered to be the gold standard in everyday apparel, is slightly less carbon-intensive. However, cotton requires immense levels of water during production.

The UN estimates that a single pair of jeans requires anywhere between 7,500 - 10,000 litres of water. That’s roughly 10 years worth of drinking water for a single person. Although organic natural fibers don’t use pesticides and are a much better alternative to non-organic one’s, they still require excessive amounts of water.

Written by Matteo Stefan