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Jan 17: Why the Fashion and Textile Industries Need a Sustainable Makeover


The fashion and textile industries are in desperate need of a sustainable makeover. Why?
The global textile industry produces large quantities of toxic chemicals, requires substantial amounts of energy, water, and land, and is responsible for a lot of air, water, and soil pollution.

Consider the following facts:

  • Textile and clothing manufacturers in India dispose of 1.2 billion tons of cotton fibre each year. This pre-consumer "waste" increases the overall landfill burden and contributes to the creation of chemical leachate that can contaminate groundwater sources.
  • 25% of all of the chemicals producedare used worldwide by the textile industry. Where regulations are lacking, chemicals such as formaldehyde, chlorine, and heavy metals like lead and mercury are routinely dumped into water bodies without any treatment at all.
  • The pesticides used on cotton and other textile crops pollute soil, harm wildlife, and negatively impact human health.
  • On average, it takes 2700 litres of water to grow enough cotton to produce one single cotton T-shirt.

The bottom line is that everyone wears clothing and uses other textiles on a daily basis, so while there is currently a huge problem with pollution, waste, and demand on natural resources, the opportunity to make the textiles and fashion industries more sustainable is immense.

A number of companies are leading the way in sustainable fashion and textile manufacturing trends by recycling fibers, eliminating the use of toxins and agricultural chemicals, and by reducing their use of natural resources and energy. As more consumers become educated about the environmental impacts of their buying decisions, the global market is shifting and is leading to new sustainable industry standards that provide a competitive edge for businesses.