The fashion industry's impact on the environment is extremely negative – and it's getting worse. Many are unaware that polyester is a particular problem: the comparatively cheap material is found in more than 50 per cent of clothing. But what makes synthetic fabrics so problematic? The organisations Clean Clothes Campaign, Plastic Soup Foundation, WeMove Europe, Zero Waste Alliance Ukraine and No Plastic In My Sea have joined forces in order to answer this and other question in their report Fossil Fashion, published in February 2021, and call for action against plastic waste.
Acrylic, elastane, nylon and polyester – the list of synthetic materials used in the textile industry is long. Every year, more than 62 million tons of these fibres are used in clothing. The prospects are poor: according to the report, this will rise to 102 million tons by 2030. The problem? It places an enormous strain on our environment. In 2015, the production of polyester resulted in emissions of 700 million tons of CO2 – roughly the same amount as 108 coal-fired power plants. And the damaging impact of the materials continue after their use: they are not degradable, but emit chemicals, pollute oceans and groundwater with microplastics and release methane while breaking down.
Where do we go from here? Recycling and reusing worn clothes are not the solution: just 0.1 to 1 per cent of used garments are recycled to produce new fashions. The named organisations call on businesses to accept more responsibility. One important step in this direction means moving away from fast fashion, towards a circular economy - only in this way can the industry become sustainable in the long run. This shift involves transparent supply chains and explicit sustainability goals. Offers such as repair or rental services can also lead to change; political action is also required. For the EU textile strategy 2021, the organisers recommend measures to limit microfibres, such as a tax on virgin synthetic fibres, or support for new business models promoting recyclability in the fashion industry.
Neonyt, the most relevant global platform for fashion, sustainability and innovation, likewise stands for transformation in the industry with the Neonyt Trade Show, the Fashionsustain conference, a range of showcases and more. The next edition of Neonyt, titled Now, will take place in summer 2021 in Frankfurt am Main – because the time to act is now.
#Fossil Fashion #Clean Clothes Campaign #Plastic Soup Foundation #WeMove Europe #Zero Waste Alliance Ukraine #No Plastic In My Sea #Sustainability #Polyester #Synthetics #Neonyt #Now
Find out more here:
Changing Markets Foundation, Clean Clothes Campaign, Plastic Soup Foundation, WeMove Europe, Zero Waste Alliance Ukraine & No Plastic In My Sea, 2021. Fossil Fashion. The hidden reliance of fast fashion on fossil fuels.
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