Plastics and Fast Fashion: They Don't Match!

Demand for necessities such as clothes is always changing depending upon several external factors

such as the season or what is “in” at the moment. It is the basic price mechanism and want for

higher profits that causes firms to change their clothes production to satisfy the consumers. One

such example is fast fashion. Big brands like H&M, Zara and Mango, restock their stores and

websites almost once a month, they make sure to remove any clothing items that they deem

unsellable or out of demand, but where do these clothes go then?

Some lucky clothing pieces go to thrift shops to be given a second chance however it is common to

see the majority be burned in landfills or shipped abroad, both having a considerable negative effect

on the environment. The extra production of textile products also causes an overwhelming increase

in carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. These extra greenhouse gas emissions cause an

increase in global warming level and air pollution.

Another type of pollution that is caused is water pollution. As more and more products are

produced, scrap materials of cloth and buttons are thrown in the water bodies near the factories,

these small materials and the chemicals in the water may cause aquatic life to cease to exist or cause

day to day drinking water to be dangerous to our health. It takes approximately 2700 litres of water

to make one cotton t-shirt, not to mention the cheap material polyester that is used in t-shirts

shreds microfibers that contribute to plastic pollution in oceans. Compare these facts with the

number of plain cotton t-shirts you see on sale in your local mall every day, does it not worry you?

In 2016, 65 million tons of plastic was produced by textile fibres, this amount represented an

astounding 20%of the total plastic production that year and these figures have only increased in

these recent years. Plastic in fashion is responsible for deeming large amounts of water waste and

emitting huge quantities of carbon. We can now see several brands and government take up the

initiative of recycling and limiting the production of clothing products however it will take time to

implement new rules in a world that is not aware of the problem. A simple act of buying a new t-

shirt may have more consequences than one is aware of, it is always better to buy only when

necessary and choose the brand carefully.


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