Appalling fashion industry facts: the true costs of clothing!

April 20, 2017

Fashion is a complicated business involving various supply chain movements: ranging from production of raw materials, and textile manufacturing down to product distribution. As a result of these processes the fashion carbon footprint on the ecosystem is tremendous. Take a minute to think about the waste-full effects of the fashion industry; however think about more than the obvious pollutants, consider the pesticides used in cotton farming, the toxic dyes used in manufacturing, money spent and the amount of waste discarded clothing creates. Once you learn some eye-opening facts about the true effects of the industry your buying patterns will surely change!

 

Take into consideration the harmful effects of the industry with a few thought-provoking facts.

 


Here are some staggering fashion industry statistics:

It costs to look good…

  • The world children’s wear market reached $186 billion in 2014, with an expected 15% increase over the next five years.

  • Only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity or thrift stores get sold. The rest end up in landfills or flooding markets in developing countries like Haiti.

  • The world women's wear industry exceeded $621 billion in 2014.

  • Consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated £30 billion ($46.7 billion) worth of unworn clothes lingering in their closets.

Made in China…

  • The Chinese textile industry creates about 3 billion tons of soot each year.

  • Millions of tons of unused fabric at Chinese mills go to waste each year when dyed the wrong color.

  • A single mill in China can use 200 tons of water for each ton of fabric it dyes; many rivers run with the colors as the untreated toxic dyes wash off from mills.

  • As of 2012, the China Pollution Map Database had 6,000 records of textile factories violating environmental regulations, including: discharging wastewater from hidden pipes; discharging untreated pollutants; improper use of wastewater treatment facilities; exceeding total pollutant discharge allowed; and using production facilities that were shut down by the authorities for various reasons.

Company benefits…

  • Labor productivity in the U.S. manufacturing sector and textile mills more than doubled from 1987 to 2010. 

  • In a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics the Philippines, has the lowest compensation costs in the manufacturing industry at 88 cents per hour.

  • Most clothes are made in factories with very harsh working conditions and extremely low wages.

  • One-in-six people work in the global fashion industry; a majority of these workers are women earning less than $3 per day.

  • It has been reported that about 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years. Partly as a result of going into debt to buy genetically modified cotton seeds, courtesy of Monsanto.

Now that you have some facts take action and do whatever necessary to maintain a greener wardrobe and make conscious spending decisions. Use this information to spark change and influence others. However real change in the clothing industry will only come if the big, affordable brands can manage to find a way to make and sell sustainable clothing. Until then, consumers can help by changing where they shop and what they buy.

 

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