Fast fashion and its impact on the environment

This post was written by a student. It has not been fact checked or edited.


The amount of new clothes Americans have bought has tripled since the 1960s. This exponential increase created the need for additional resources and a faster process in the production of garments. One of the most important contributors to the production of pollution is the rapid production of clothing to keep up with the rapid consumption of customers. Every year the entire world consumes more than 80 billion items of clothing. These clothes contribute to the pollution of resources, in addition to their contribution to pollution caused by waste, because most of these pieces will be discarded one day. The concern with fast fashion is mainly about the waste of clothing it generates. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of clothing waste was generated in 2013 alone. Some chemicals on clothing, such as the dyes in some textile garments, could cause environmental harm if they were released to the ground when they end up in landfills.

Unsold clothing when burned releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In 2019, it was announced that France was making an effort to prevent companies from burning unsold clothing. Another issue that has arisen due to the continuous increase in the amount of clothing consumed is that the clothing is no longer made from natural materials and crops. Clothing used to be mainly produced from "natural fibres" such as wool, cotton or silk, but now there is a shift from the use of natural fibers to the use of cheaper synthetic textile fibres, such as polyester or nylon.nbPolyester is one of the most used fibers in fashion today, as it is found in about 60% of clothing in retail stores, which equates to approximately 21.3 million tons of polyester.

The popularity of polyester also continues to grow, with polyester apparel consumption increasing by 157% from 2000 to 2015. Synthetic polyester is made from a chemical reaction between coal, oil (both fossil fuels), air, and water. Burning coal produces large amounts of air pollutants, including carbon dioxide. The use of petroleum produces several air pollutants, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide. The polyester manufacturing process and products are a source of contamination, and polyester is "not biodegradable".That is, it cannot be converted into a state that naturally exists in the world of nature. It can be considered as an energy-intensive product without any net profit.

Wool is made from the fur of sheep, which are ruminants, which means that methane (a very potent greenhouse gas) is produced. The skin also suffers from the same problem due to the fact that cows (cattle) are also ruminants. For temperate regions, flax (made from the flax plant) is the best alternative, and hemp is also a good option. Bio-synthetic leather can be used as a good alternative to natural leather. Hence, we must reach the concept of fast fashion pollution of the environment and work to protect the environment from this upcoming danger to our planet.