written by Tricia Lee
Fast fashion refers to the trend in which retailers will release new styles as soon as possible, or before they're even sold out, with prices becoming more affordable every year. The problem with this practice is that it leads to many wasted resources and pollution on land and in waterways. This leads to a lot of unnecessary waste contributing to the overall problem of pollution, specifically in areas around waterways and oceans.
Effects of Fast Fashion Industry on Our Oceans and Human Lives
The effects of Fast Fashion are well documented. After only a few years, the fashion industry's use of cheap labor, toxic dyes, chemicals, and clothing disposal have been thoroughly researched and reported on. But we don't often hear about how these practices affect the ocean. It is because most fast fashion manufacturers have no sustainable vision for our environment. Clothes account for up to 80% of all textiles entering our oceans each year.
It takes more than 700 years for one T-shirt to biodegrade in water and soil combined. This means that if you wore just one shirt every day for an entire year, you would still leave behind over 160 pounds worth of textile waste! Waterways and oceans are two areas that see the detrimental effects of fast fashion first hand. When people throw too much clothing into landfills and do not recycle, these items will find their way into waterways and, eventually, oceans.
Not only do these items pollute the waterways and ocean, but they also affect the lives of marine life. People have found entangled sea life with plastic from fast-fashion clothing, threatening their overall health and life expectancy. When we consider that approximately 1,500,000 pieces of plastic waste find their way into our oceans every day and do not include the numbers from fast fashion items such as apparel and footwear only makes the problem worse.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, many of these items that end up polluting waterways and oceans are made with synthetic materials like nylon or polyester. This poses a threat to the environment because sea life ingests these dangerous materials, leading to them getting sick or dying.
Why Ignorance Has Become a Major Contributing Factor
Even though it is known that fast fashion is harming the environment, people continue to shop in this manner. It is because it is cheaper and more accessible. Overconsumption has become a normal part of life and has allowed fast fashion to take over the market by storm. The sad thing about all of this is that many consumers aren't aware of the implications of buying clothing from fast-fashion retailers. This leads to over-purchasing of unnecessary clothes that end up in damps and into the oceans.
How can you make a difference?
You may think that the impact of your purchase is too small to make a difference, but every bit helps. Here are some ways for you to be more environmentally conscious with your clothing choices:
1. Buy fewer clothes
Many people buy new clothes because they don't want to wear what they have anymore. This leads them into an endless cycle of buying and disposing of clothes. Buy quality pieces that you'll love wearing again and again instead! You'll save money in the long run by not having to keep up with the latest trends, plus it will help reduce throwing them out as waste after only one use.
2. Buy secondhand or vintage items whenever possible
Not only will you save money, but also, you'll be helping keep clothing out of landfills. Plus, buying used items is a great way to find unique and one-of-a-kind pieces!
3. Take care of your clothing, so they're around for longer than just one wear
Washing items on the appropriate cycle will help them look better for longer, plus it reduces the amount of water and energy used to clean clothes! Make sure to avoid drying items with heat because this damages fibers and can cause them to wear out more quickly.
It's time to take a stand and be more environmentally conscious with your clothing choices. The article has provided some great tips on how you can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our oceans each year by shopping smarter. Start today and make a difference for tomorrow!