It is no news that the degradation of the environment has been increasing over the years at an alarming rate. But besides plastics, did you know how toxic textiles are to the environment?
After oil and gas, the textile industry takes the second position among the most polluting industries globally. Every year, clothes release half a million tons of microfibers into water bodies. It gets into the food chain and finds its way to the human body through seafood.
Every second, an amount of clothes equivalent to one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. It negatively impacts the soil and air, degrading the environment.
It comes as no surprise. The average American has doubled their purchase of clothing compared to 20 years ago. And few consider the option to donate clothes to charitable foundations when disposing of their outfits.
These statistics are not meant to victimize you for your love of keeping up with the latest fashion trends. But you need to open your eyes to the impact that throwing that dress or shirt in the garbage bag has on the environment.
Let’s look at the reasons why the textile industry is a threat to the environment.
A Harmful Production Process
The pollution of the environment does not begin with the wrong disposal of textiles. It starts in the production process, from the raw materials to the actual production of the clothes.
The manufacture of synthetic fabric uses non-renewable energy sources, such as crude oil. The process is toxic to the environment. What’s more, synthetic textiles take hundreds of years to decompose.
The use of cotton for production is not much better, considering that most cotton farmers use heavy pesticides when growing the plant. It also requires a very high amount of water to produce.
According to the World Resource Institute, one cotton t-shirt requires an amount of water similar to what an individual would drink in two-and-a-half years.
When you choose to throw out clothes rather than donate them, the dyes used in the textiles produce toxic chemicals that can find their way into waterways.
Fast fashion has led to an increased demand for clothes. People are always trying to keep up with the latest trends and trying to emulate their favorite celebrity’s wardrobe.
This high demand for clothes has increased the number of textiles produced. Producers then strive to ensure every current style is met with an unlimited supply of clothes. But as the trends change quickly, more clothes end up in disposal bags.
With the high demand for clothes, there are two ways in which consumers can ensure that the environmental impact of textile production reduces.
- Donate Clothes: Rather than dispose of the clothes you no longer use, donating is an excellent alternative. The value of charitable donations does not just lie in freeing up space in your house. You will be playing a part in saving the environment. And most importantly, you will touch someone’s life. A green charity institution such as The Military Order of the Purple Heart Foundation makes it easy to donate clothes by offering a donation pick up service. You can also find a convenient drop off location near you.
- Opt for Organic Textiles: Organic textiles are produced using ecological and socially responsible production processes. From the initial harvesting of the raw materials to manufacturing and packing, the safety of the environment is vital. You can recognize clothes that meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) through the certification label. Organic textiles are free from toxins caused by pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides used during production. You can, therefore, have the assurance that you are not exposing your skin or the beneficiary of your clothing donation to any toxins. As a consumer, you have the responsibility of ensuring that there is a reduction in the level of environmental toxicity caused by textile production.
Always look for the GOTS logo when purchasing clothes. They are produced with an environmentally conscious process. Contact Purple Heart Foundation and donate clothes instead of disposing of them in landfills. You will be making a difference in someone’s life.