It is a well-known fact that the expanding fast fashion industry that focuses on low-cost products and ever-evolving hypes is a massive contributor to the carbon emissions that are polluting our planet on a daily basis. 

Fashion trends come and go, and to meet this demand the biggest players in the industry might release new collections as frequently as twice a month. There used to be two fashion seasons; Spring or Summer and Fall or Winter, however nowadays, Zara and H&M, for example, release a whopping amount of 12 to 24 collections every year.

To establish new trends, fast fashion manufacturers utilise hige social media and influencer campaigns. In-line with the fast nature of these platforms, a fashion trend can also become outdated within two weeks of its introduction leading to loads of unsold stock becoming obsolete. 

Five Fashion Industry Waste Facts and Statistics

Below are five fashion industry waste facts and statistics that may motivate you to join the slow and sustainable fashion movement.

1.  Landfills

A large portion of clothes is discarded in landfills. To illustrate this fact, remember that every second a truck full of garments is burnt or deposited in a landfill.

Ellen Macarthur Foundation states that in the last 15 years, global clothing manufacturing has quadrupled, with items being worn far less and discarded much faster than ever before.

2.  Increase in Waste

The pandemic has further added to the fashion industry's wealth  but also the pressures to produce enough stock. The article published by Forbes states that nearly 70 million barrels of crude oil are needed each year to create polyester, a widely used textile material. 

Petrochemicals are used to produce everything from vehicle bumpers to plastic Tupperware to plant fertilizer - as well as more than half of the textiles used by fast fashion merchants.

3.  Carbon Emissions

The fashion sector accounted for 10% of all carbon emissions in the world. That is more than all international flights and marine shipping put together.

According to a 2017 assessment from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if the fashion industry continues on its current path, its portion of the carbon budget could rise to 26% by 2050.

4. Planned Obsolescence

Clothing designed by fast fashion firms wears out rapidly. They employ a tactic known as "planned obsolescence."

Planned obsolescence refers to garments that are designed to quickly become unfashionable, worn out, or torn apart in order to drive customers to continue buying new outfits. 

5.  Water Wastage

The fashion sector is the world's second-largest water user. According to WWF, a pair of jeans uses around 2,000 gallons of water to make. That is an equivalent of one individual consuming eight cups every day for the next ten years.

Another example, one cotton shirt uses roughly 700 gallons of water to make. That is enough water to last three and a half years if one individual drinks eight cups every day.

Switch To Sustainable Fashion

Hopefully, the five fashion industry waste facts mentioned above have encouraged you to consider adopting sustainable fashion. 

As you continue to explore and choose your eco-friendly goods, be sure that the businesses you are buying from are reducing their negative impact on the environment as well as improving their employees' working conditions.

Would like to see how So.Me is making a difference? Don’t be shy and find out more about our Sustainability practises. 

January 25, 2022 — Olena Sychenko