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How the Fashion Industry and Consumer Culture Are Destroying Our Environment

Apr 23, 2016 02:09 AM EDT
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With both cheap clothing lines and high-end brands proliferating in countries like Italy, U.S., Japan and Hong Kong, the fashion industry indeed has a big influence around the world. But before you go splurging on the clothes you've been eyeing for some time now, or before you book your ticket for some bargain shopping in Thailand, ask yourself first, did you know that the fashion industry is destroying the environment?

Greenpeace International has shown some concern on the hazards of the growing fashion industry. Although there's nothing wrong with shopping and wanting to dress well, there are consequences when it comes to making the clothing people wear.

In China, one of the biggest industries is comprised of denim factories. But producing tons and tons of denim at a breakneck pace is detrimental to the environment because of the chemicals used in factories in order to produce them. They say it causes high levels of industrial pollution and it causes its toll on the environment.

According to a Greenpeace report, it takes 1.7 million tons of chemicals to produce 2 billion pairs of jeans every year. Not to mention the water consumption needed for production which can go as high as 7,000 liters.

Aside from denim jeans, Greenpeace believes that waterproof outdoor clothing can also be a cause of deterioration in the environment. The substance found in outdoor gear to repel water, called perfluorinated chemicals or PFC, is non-biodegradable and will turn into waste over time. Greenpeace experts also claim this substance is also considered carcinogenic.

Overconsumption is another problem. Because there are a lot of cheap clothes, people tend to hoard. Another problem with the fashion industry and the costumer culture is that most of the clothing people hoard turns into waste very quickly. A report said that in the UK alone, 350,000 tons of clothing ended up in their landfills every year.

How can we help resolve the problem and save the environment?

Recycle

There are clothes which are designed to last. Instead of throwing them in the trash, adding to the industrial pollution, might as well repurpose them into other household necessity like curtains, table accents, etc.

Detox your clothing

This is a solution presented by Greenpeace, for clothing companies to stop using chemicals in their clothes like PFC.

Promote and buy organic clothing

There are eco-friendly clothing materials produced without harming the environment

Being fashionable should also mean being responsible, and in order to stop destroying the environment, fashion enthusiasts and bargain hunters alike should start to shift the fashion industry and costumer culture to a more socially responsible trend.

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