As reported by Mckinsey research, the fashion sector was directly responsible for roughly 2.1 billion metric tons of green-house gas emissions in 2018, nearly 4% of the world’s total. To put that total into perspective, that is more than the entire economies of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom combined. The biggest contributors come upstream from manufacturers and fiber producers. Currently, many of the fibers we wear everyday not only require carbon intensive practices, but they are in fact carbon based in nature.


What seemed like the great paradox to me was how eager we all are to explore and marvel over nature’s beauty, and yet while doing so, we are wearing the very thing that is destroying this beauty. I don’t think people realize how damaging our clothing (specifically polyester) is to our home. - Matteo Stefan, Founder & CEO


Polyester, a popular synthetic fibre used for activewear clothing, is made through a chemical reaction between coal, crude oil, water, and air. As reported by Common Objective, in 2015 the polyester textiles industry consumed 330 million barrels of oil. To put that into perspective, that's more than 21,000 olympic sized swimming pools. Not only this, but the sheer volume of energy required to produce a polyester fibre is also what makes it such a high impact process. Producing polyester based textiles emits 3x more CO2 than that of cotton. Unfortunately, until renewable energies become more prevalent in everyday life, more energy usage means more green-house emissions.


If you examine the entire value chain of a synthetic fiber like polyester, you will see just how damaging it is. It is completely reliant on high-demand energy usage that emits CO2. Not just that, there is the whole issue of toxic waste and plastic waste that comes along with it. When we wear a t-shirt made from 100% polyester, we are effectively wearing plastic bags. Every time we wash this plastic bag, millions of microplastics will pass through sewage treatment plants and what's not filtered, will end up in our oceans. - Matteo Stefan, Founder & CEO


One of the top concerns with polymer-based clothing continues to be the amount of plastic that is being released into our oceans. A recent study completed by Ocean Wise, revealed that there is widespread distribution of microplastics along seawater surfaces in the European and North American Arctic. The samples tested revealed an average concentration of 49 particles of plastic per cubic meter of seawater just below the surface. Of these plastic particles, the findings revealed that 73% of the plastic fibres present were in fact polyester. Research suggests that these fibres are entering our oceans by way of passage from our washing machines. Every time you do a load of laundry, millions of microfibres shed from our clothes and end up in greywaters. From there, this water travels to a treatment facility where 95% of the fibres are trapped in sludge. Unfortunately, the 5% that eventually gets released into the environment makes its way to our oceans and all its marine life inhabitants.


The textiles industry continues to exhaust the environment. Collectively, we need to do better. Change will not happen overnight but we must continue to push the dialogue so that we can elicit change in an industry that is damaging the environment at an unprecedented rate. At ACTIVVIS, we recognize that we are at the bottom of a very steep up hill climb. But who doesn’t love a good grind? - Matteo Stefan, Founder & CEO