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textile industry pollution, second biggest polluter

The textile industry, the second biggest polluter in the world

April 16, 2020

Today, we're talking about what drives us to create sustainable fashion - pollution caused by the textile industry. We will answer the most frequently asked questions, but if after reading the article you still have questions, please contact us, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

 

Environmental pollution caused by the textile industry

The textile industry is thought to be the second biggest polluter in the world after the oil industry. That's a fact. We can monitor water pollution, whether drinkable or not, in rivers, lakes and seas. We can monitor air pollution, as well as the state of soils degraded by intensive cultivation.

What we cannot monitor is one of the most worrying aspects of modern science - what will happen to human genetics after years spent absorbing thousands of toxic substances? We can't answer at the moment, and unfortunately for them, it will be the next generations who provide the answer.

Let's be sure of one thing, however, what will happen will not be good. Nor will it be good for human civilization

We have done and continue to pump tons of chemicals into the water and atmosphere, as if there is more than one planet... as if we are certain to be able to cope with any environmental catastrophe. But we have to get it into our heads that we can't. There are things that we can't and we never could fix.

The textile industry causes unimaginable damage to the environment and to all living beings, including humans. But it is important, indeed crucial, to understand that we ourselves as "individuals" can really make a difference with our daily choices. It is not a cliché nor a mere platitude, let's simply consider it for what it really is: fact.

It is sad to think everything we hold most beautiful is destroyed without mercy for pure economic purposes by the main players - the real owners of industries, multinationals, distribution chains, individual fashion brands. While us "little consumers" contribute to this in a quest for "style".

The textile industry pollutes the planet, it has been doing so for decades and we are all know it

Sustainable fashion was created precisely to combat this destruction, to raise people's awareness, make them play a part in change and also to "put the fear" into those big players who haven't feared anything to date. To really scare people those "big" players, the only tactic we have is to take away their economic income

How? Simply by not buying clothing, bags, shoes or fashion accessories of dubious origin. Choosing to buy products labelled as Slow Fashion rather than standard low cost clothing.

 

The textile industry and Fast Fashion

We are always talking about Fast Fashion as the absolute evil. We'll never stop doing so because even though it's not the only evil that afflicts our planet, Fast Fashion contributes extensively, actively and relentlessly to environmental pollution caused by the textile industry.

It affects every sphere: air, earth, water, places, people and animals. Its impact is devastating and its contribution to the increase in environmental pollution over the last 20 years is comparable to that of other terrible industries, such as oil and coal.

But why do we compare the term "Fast Fashion" to these industries? Basically it's just an adjective, not a real "industry"

We make this comparison because by itself, a textile industry based on Prêt-à-Porter (ready to wear) is essential in the contemporary world. However much as we would like to, we can hardly imagine closing all textile industries to open millions of artisanal workshops. We can't state this enough, we would like to and it would be fantastic, but it's just unrealistic.

The textile industry is necessary, but it should first of all "slow down" the production speed, first of all limiting the number of collections to classic autumn/winter and spring/summer and not bring out more than 50 collections in 12 months as several distribution chains do. And this is where Fast Fashion comes into play. This term represents the absurd speed of the textile sector.

So you can choose your clothing by going for eco-friendly textiles and learning to read labels that represent certified textiles. Choosing this would certainly help the environment. But if these fabrics and certifications were used to produce those 50 clothing collections in a year, what would be the use?

Their effectiveness would undoubtedly be questioned. That's why we have to stop buying Fast Fashion products right now, and that means we have to raise our expectations while not buying the usual low cost products that often unnecessarily fill our wardrobes.

 

Textile Industry: Agriculture, Livestock, Materials, Production, Transport

These are the things that make up the textile industry. Each one has its own negative impact on the environment and it would be really difficult to assess which one has the greatest environmental impact. Yet, without any doubt all of them can be devastating, even on their own.

  • Agriculture is responsible for water pollution due to the excessive use of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals which filter into soils and end up in rivers. But it is also responsible for soil degradation, where the soil literally "dies" because of intensive farming methods.
  • Livestock Farming is one of the main causes of the greenhouse effect and the hole in the ozone layer. As well as limitless cruelty. However, it also contributes to air pollution and also to water pollution. It should be noted, however, that intensive livestock farming just for the textile sector is gradually decreasing as it is mostly concentrated in the food sector.
  • The production of materials- yarns, fabrics and accessories - is very dangerous for the environment. It also contributes directly to air and water pollution.
  • We have the materials ready to use and now the real production begins where the clothes are dyed. This is certainly one of the most polluting parts when it comes to water contamination, since very few companies can boast of "legal" filters. Mostly, especially in countries where there is heavy textile production (see China, India, Bangladesh), these residues are discharged directly into the surrounding water courses.
  • Then we get to the final stage, transporting the products. It is also wrong to call it the "final" stage because the transport aspect is there from beginning to end: in agriculture, raising livestock, materials, production. Transport is always necessary, from one supplier to another and then to the shops all over the world. A single garment can travel well over 20,000 km between cargo ships, trains and trucks.

We have to keep in mind that a single item of clothing is really worth a lot more than we think. And we're not talking about money here but something bigger - our planet.

 

Why sustainable fashion is important

We believe that the answer to this question can be found in every line of this article: sustainable fashion is important to safeguard the future of our planet.

In the last twenty years we have literally just consumed and Fast Fashion is largely responsible for the environmental and social damage caused in recent years. We are all growing more aware today, but not all of us are able to change our shopping habits.

Would you like to buy ethical and eco-friendly products? Slow Nature is the right place to come as we offer an exclusive ethical clothing selection on our website.

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