The environmental price of fast fashion

Charlie Webb


The current trend for buying cheap, fast fashion is not sustainable. New research by WRAP shows just how polluting the UK’s consumption of new clothes really is. In one month alone, the carbon footprint of new clothes bought in the UK was greater than flying a plane around the world 900 times.


Fast fashion facts

Fashion is the world’s second biggest polluter after the oil industry.

People buy 80 billion garments around the world every year and in the UK, we buy more clothes than any other country in Europe.

A rubbish truck of clothes is burned or landfilled every single second.

Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester.

Polyester takes more than 200 years to decompose.

Tiny bits of polyester that shed from our clothes when they are washed account for 85% of all human-made debris found on shorelines around the world. 

Fabric production is responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution annually.


    What can you do?

    Buying carefully and only what you need doesn’t mean sacrificing your style.

    Go vintage: Visit second hand, charity and vintage shops. You can also buy on sites like eBay and Depop.

    Buy less: Love what you already have and try wearing things in a different way.

    Look for eco-friendly materials: Be aware of what your clothes are made of and choose natural fibres like cotton over polyester. They feel better on your skin too.

    Learn to DIY or sew: It doesn't take much to learn how to hand-sew and stitch up a hole. Or you can completely revamp an article of clothing with a few basic sewing skills. If you’re not a fan of the needle and thread, there are also loads of great no-sew tutorials online to upcycle everything from coats and dresses to t-shirts and bags.


    Tags: blog, fashion

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