In the UK more carbon emissions per minute are produced by the purchase of new clothing than driving around the planet in a car six times according to the latest research from Oxfam. The aid agency says the textile industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the shipping and aviation industries put together. In order to maintain low prices, the garment industry produces throwaway fashion made by labour usually pooled from the poorest communities of the world who are paid less than the living wage.
Clothes end up on landfill
Every week 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill in the United Kingdom. The aid agency also found that over two tonnes of clothing are purchased every minute in the country, one new white cotton shirt generates the same amount of carbon emissions as driving a car 35 miles and the emissions from all items of new clothing purchased every month in the UK exceeds the amount generated flying a plane around the world 900 times.
Consumers can make a real difference
An Oxfam spokesperson says we are presently in a climate emergency and it is no longer possible to turn a blind eye to the emissions generated by new clothing. The staggering facts surrounding the impact of fashion on the planet as well as its insidious effects on the world’s poorest should make everyone think twice before purchasing a new item of clothing. Consumers have the power to make a real difference. The poorest countries tend to have the lowest contribution to climate change and yet suffer some of the most devastating consequences.
Extreme weather events
Record heatwaves in India, extreme cyclones and drought in Africa are just some of the examples. Another Oxfam survey found half of all adults in the UK re unaware that fast fashion has such a harmful impact on the environment. Ten per cent of those polled admitted they were not bothered about the impact of their shopping habits, whilst a third claimed to be shocked and would alter their clothing shopping behaviour in response.
Purchase pre-owned clothing
One way to do that is to purchase second hand clothing which serves slow down the torrid pace of the fast fashion cycle and also gives clothing the opportunity to be used for the full duration of its life. People tend to be horrified when the learn the full impact of purchasing fast fashion and some of them do indeed decide to change their shopping habits by purchasing pre-owned clothing. If more people accept the reality of their consumption habits and make positive changes, its not too late to prevent impending doom.