We all know that you never really get anything for free, everything always has a cost even if it isn’t immediately apparent. For fashion as well as its monetary cost there is also a cost in terms of its impact on the environment. It is very easy when buying yet another piece of fast fashion that you don’t really need not only are you wasting money but also damaging the environment. Here are just a few of the impacts that fashion has on the environment.
Many of the clothes that we wear are made of cotton. In order to grow conventional cotton farmers use a huge amount of pesticide which is damaging to the environment. The water used to irrigate cotton has also been blamed for the Aral Sea crisis on Uzbekistan.
The processing of fibres into fabrics uses both energy and chemicals both of which have their own impact on the environment. Manufacturing synthetic chemicals also uses non renewable resources including petro chemicals.
Again the manufacturing of clothes has so many different impacts from the dyes and finishes to sandblasting of jeans and even the glue used to make shoes and accessories.
Transportation usually uses non renewable energy and causes the release of carbon dioxide which contributes to the Greenhouse effect and global warming. Packaging for transportation also creates waste.
With fashions and trends changing so quickly retailers need to get their predictions and planning spot on in order to sell as many products as possibly. There is almost always some waste that the retailers are unable to sell though. Waste can be reduced to a by WSSI from a firm like Quantiv (weekly sales and stock intake)
Much of the clothing that is discarded each year will go into landfill. Synthetic fibres will take a long time to break down and even natural fibres will release methane (a greenhouse gas) as they break down.
The easy answer would be for everyone to just buy less but in reality it is not quite that simple. Responsibility lies with everyone from the consumer to the manufacturers, retailers and even media and marketers to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment.