Three pretty incredible facts for you to ponder:
- According to EcoWatch, a well-respected organization worldwide, the clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world – second only to oil. Fashion is a complicated business involving long and varied supply chains of production, raw material, textile manufacture, clothing construction, shipping, retail, use, and ultimately disposal of the garment.
- Determining that footprint is an overwhelming challenge due to the immense variety from one garment to the next. A general assessment must take into account not only obvious pollutants – the pesticides used in cotton farming, the toxic dyes used in manufacturing, and the great amount of waste discarded clothing creates – but also the extravagant amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and shipping.
- Now about those cotton t-shirts – while cotton, especially organic cotton, might seem like a smart choice, it can still take more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture just ONE T-shirt and ONE pair of jeans. Synthetic, man-made fibers, while not as water-intensive, often have issues with manufacturing pollution and sustainability. And across all textiles, the manufacturing and dyeing of fabrics is chemically intensive.
At the end of the day, the power to bring out long term, systemic changes lies in the hands of consumer. We’ve got the buying power. Let’s use it at places like Goodwill Industries, HabiStore, Restores, and the thousands of locally owned resale shops where fashion finds abound!