Textiles: Is It Doing More Harm Than Good?

94% of Gen Z’ers believe companies should help address social and environmental issues.” This type of mindset from current and possibly future generations can create a major impact for textile industries. A component of the textile industry that has created problems is the fast fashion industry. Due to the standards for production and selling the items, there has been mass consumption and mass production. With the amount of textiles around the world, what is and is not being used is having a negative impact on the environment. When looking at the industrial pollution, 20% of it comes from the textile manufacturing process. In addition to this, out of all of the textiles produced, less than 1% of those that are clothes are recycled into new garments. For textiles as a whole, in the U.S, the majority end up in landfills. According to the EPA table below, ever since the 1960s up to 2018, the pattern of creating materials and having them end up in landfills have been occurring for decades. All of these issues are only the end-of-life of a product and are also not considering the upstream and raw material impacts. If drastic changes do not occur, there will be an increase in problems over time.

The textile industry has affected the environment worldwide in the land, water, and air. Land has been used for its space. This space is used to contain different forms of waste. For every 1lb of waste from a consumer, there is 40lbs coming from a company. In terms of the water, waste has been placed in varying water sources. As it pertains to the dyes of the textiles, these dyes are viewed as the 2nd largest polluter of water globally. Lastly, the air is being impacted by global carbon emissions; 10% of the emissions is coming from the fashion industry.

Many see the problems that are going on today and have been participating in creating solutions. Some general actions are donating, recycling, and repairing and reselling. Donations are able to help those in need. The Salvation Army incorporates this tactet into its organization. Items that are taken in can range from clothes to furniture and the profits that are made go towards vital programs and services for those that are in the community. Another source involved with creating solutions is Terracycle. Terracycle is an organization that focuses on making recycling an easier process for people. It has created platforms that help with decreasing the amount of single use products. The final source is The Renewal Workshop. The Renewal Workshop focuses on repairs and resells; it takes in apparel and textiles so that it can be turned into renewed products. Companies and organizations like those that have been listed help aid in the reversal of the damage so far in the environment. With more awareness, products can be beneficial to both people and the environment.

By Kyra Bassett Marketing Intern AMLY Sustainability

June 30, 2021

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