Clothing, along with food and shelter, is a basic human need. Thus, the fashion and textile industry is bound to be profitable. According to a study by MarketWatch, the size of the global textile market will increase to $1,237,300 million in 2025 from $854,200 million in 2018.
Such profitability ultimately means that this industry churns out large units of pollution each year. The growth of this multitrillion-dollar industry is attributed to fast-fashion. According to an article in the New York Times, fast-fashion brands use synthetic fabric fibers—they do not decompose.
The article speculates that 85% of textile waste is dumped in U.S. landfills and ends up in water bodies such as seas and rivers.
Here are a few ways the textile industry is changing the world around us—in a bad way.
The textile industry is responsible for producing tons of solid waste pollution that ends up in our landfills. This waste is both toxic and non-toxic. Toxic waste refers to products such as bleach and sludge.
Non-toxic solid waste refers to the packaging materials, spools, and machine parts—they aren’t immediately harmful to the environment since they’re recyclable.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency speculates that 5% of the U.S. landfill space is filled with textile waste.
Statistics published by the Natural Resources Defense Council state that textile factories can be blamed for one-fifth of the world’s water pollution. Toxic chemicals such as chromium, lead, and cadmium are detrimental to the living organisms in the surrounding areas. These chemicals are washed into rivers, lakes, and oceans. The untreated, toxic water can pollute groundwater as well.
A study conducted by Tiwari and Babel confirms that processes taking place in textile factories generate atmospheric emissions. According to the study, the coating materials include oils and paints, which give off fumes that are detrimental to the atmosphere.
This form of pollution travels quickly. Since it’s in the air, it affects not only the areas in the vicinity of the factories but also those that extend beyond it. It worsens existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma. Additionally, they release diesel carcinogens, which promote cancerous growth in humans.
If you’re someone who feels strongly about the adverse impacts the global textile industry has on our planet, then perhaps you’ll be interested in green fashion. Companies like Whitehouse and Schapiro promote textile recycling to create awareness about the pollution created by the textile industry.
They buy and sell secondhand clothes locally and worldwide. Most of the items they sell are collected via donations, and through thrift stores. If you’re interested in donating shoes and clothes in Baltimore, then call them at 410-356-8003 or get in touch with them online.