PARIS (AFP) – The fashion industry is estimated to contribute upwards of two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is on track to get even worse if there isn’t major change.
Here are some key figures on how fashion is affecting the planet and how consumers can make a difference.
The average number of times a garment is worn before it is discarded, according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation are seven to 10.
Five is the maximum number of new items we should be buying every year if we are to reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming limit set out by the United Nations (UN), according to the Hot or Cool institute think tank.
Around 30 per cent of donated clothes that ends up in landfills or incinerators abroad, according to Hot or Cool.
They can also end up undercutting local vendors if they flood the market.
One second is the equivalent of a lorry load of clothes is incinerated or buried in a landfill every second, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation reckons. One hundred billion of new clothing items are produced each year, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign.
Less than one per cent of the material used to produce clothing is actually recycled into new clothing, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Many fast fashion firms say they can recycle old garments into new, but the reality is the fabric quality is mostly not fit to make garments that can be sold.
Thirty degrees Celsius is the recommended temperature at which clothes should be washed to increase their lifespan. On average, the fashion consumption of the richest 20 per cent of the world’s population causes 20 times higher emissions than that of the poorest 20 per cent, say Hot or Cool.
This year France will pass a decree requiring every item of clothing sold in the country to carry a label detailing its precise climate impact.
The European Union (EU) is expected to follow suit. The second hand clothing market is growing eight times faster than the overall apparel market, according to online consignment shop thredUP. In the last 15 years, clothing production has roughly doubled, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation estimated, but over the same period we used those clothes almost 40 per cent less.
Forty per cent of global consumers belong to Gen-Z, those born between 1997 and 2012 according to McKinsey & Company. Gen-Z is both a part of the problem and solution when it comes to fast fashion, they make up a huge portion of consumers, but are also calling for more sustainable fashion.