The garment industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, but some clothing makers and consumers are calling for a more sustainable industry. Every piece of clothing you purchase has a price tag attached to it, be it your jeans, dress, lingerie anything, and the sock that goes unnoticed by most people is the cost to the environment.
It takes up to 700 gallons of water to produce a cotton tee shirt. Most of the countries that produce these clothes are third-world and their environmental regulations are non-existent. One can easily see totes or drums of chemicals spilling and permeating into soil or groundwater. Also, imagine the outdated material like formaldehyde, dyes, or other hydrocarbons being illegally dumped instead of properly being disposed of.
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world behind only fossil fuel energy production. The fashion industry has a huge disastrous impact on the environment. And the environmental damages are increasing as the industry grows. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of the carbon footprint in the world as well as it being the second-greatest polluter of local freshwater. This not just affects human beings but also the other living creatures on this planet.
The culture is buying and getting rid of old clothes rather than repairing and recycling. Just think about all that land that goes for cultivation. The entire world is on its knees when it comes to the fashion industry, the extensive purchasing of clothes is just making this place a dirty and toxic place to live in. The process takes for a single piece of clothing to reach us is insanely huge.
Clothes production consumes water and creates pollution from chemicals, dyes, and processes. This industry contributes to all sorts of pollution. Natural materials such as cotton use loads of water and often pesticides during their cultivation. While chemical fibers such as Polyester are even worse. To do its bit, Hennes and Mauritz, widely known as H&M is concentrating on recycling and reusing clothes. Hardly any clothing gets recycled: less than 1% globally. This means that most of our garments end up on landfills – and this much faster than in the past. The consumer is wearing their items just a couple of times, which furthers piles up the amount of waste produced by fashion in general.
To solve this issue, partners Ombori, H&M, and Microsoft have developed a smart recycle bin with an interactive screen and integrated scale. H&M placed their smart bins near the check-out stations in H&M’s flagship New York store. Customers donate their used clothes, the bin weighs the donation, thanks to the customers for their deeds, and shows them how much they’ve contributed. Interactive displays show total contribution collected via the bins, comparing contributed quantities at other locations in real-time. Donors can share their experiences on their social media to encourage other participants to contribute and scan a QR code to access information on H&M’s sustainability initiatives. Bins are integrated with Microsoft Teams so staff gets notifications when the bins need to be emptied. The company also offers a discount to the customer if he or she donates something. What cannot be worn will be reused and repurposed for things like cleaning clothes, insulation for houses and cars, and other products. Only 5 to 10 percent of collected clothing is recycled into new fibers that ultimately make new clothes, the rest downcycled into lower-valued products like cleaning. Since launching its garment recycling program in the year 2013, as per the statistics, the company has roughly collected a total of 56,000 tons of textiles globally. H&M mainly aims to reduce the loop on textiles so as to reduce the usage of water and the other toxic emissions generated when the waste materials are disposed of.
To provide fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way, H&M’s ambition is to work towards a change in the way fashion is made and enjoyed today. The aim is to create a closed loop for textiles so that unwanted clothes can be reused and recycled to create fresh textile fibers for new products. In turn, this will help to save natural resources and ensure that zero garments go to landfills.
The fashion industry is the most colorful industry, but the path it takes to manufacture a single piece of clothing is saddening, if this routine doesn’t stop, all the living species have to pay a huge burdening amount to our planet Earth. The chaos will grow louder with no one to rescue us, we need to save ourselves, this is the chance, we need to cut down on extensive shopping and be more vocal for recycling and reusing the clothes that we have in our wardrobe itself, if this is followed we have mere chances to save our species.