The Environmental Impact of the Fashion Industry

by | Apr 18, 2022 | environment | 0 comments

Just finished taking this earthday.org quiz. I now know I can do more. (This copy is from the quiz.)

What I Learned from Earthday.org

The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. At this rate, by 2030 it will produce twice the volume of emissions required to align with the Paris Agreement global warming targets.

The fashion industry contributes to Deforestation  for grazing animals that produce leather, wool, and other animal products. Deforestation and overgrazing can cause desertification and soil degradation. With this habitat loss and pollution from production, the fashion industry causes a loss of biodiversity as well.

It takes 3,781 liters of water to make one pair of jeans, from from the cotton plant to the rack. Textile manufacturing uses 20% of the world’s clean water each year.

Buy only what I need…check.

Less than 1% of clothing is recycled. Repurposing of textiles is breaking down and making new products, often insulation or stuffing materials.

Greenwashing refers to claims of environmental sustainability by a brand that are false or misleading. The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), a global network of consumer protection authorities, recently swept websites for greenwashing. They found that as many as 40% of environmental claims could be misleading customers.

Peacenik buys from Royal Apparel, a US sustainable clothing manufacturer

When washed, synthetic fabrics release and add around 35% of the microplastic pollution in the oceans.

Purchase hemp, organic cotton, bamboo, silk clothing…check

The 2018 Global Slavery index found that garment manufacturing was the 2nd biggest contributor to modern slavery. To keep the fast fashion cheap, Bangladeshi garment factory workers earn approximately $95 per month. The International Labor Organization estimates 170 million children are victims of forced labor.

Look for clothing made in America…check

A study of two thousand women found they wear their garment, on average, only 7 times. In the past 15 years, clothing utilization has decreased by 36%, creating more pollution and waste.

Buy a few new items a year and always give what I don’t wear to charity…check

Shopping at thrift stores, buying a couple high-quality items, and picking natural fibers garments are sustainable ways to shop. Unwanted clothing is often fits perfectly on someone else. Upcycle your old clothes into something new!

Peacenik buys and dye clothing from thrift stores. Heck, I’ll dye a piece of my wardrobe just to give it new life.


Found this on Calpirg.org

85% of textiles thrown away in the U.S. are dumped into landfills or burned — including unused textiles and unsold clothes. Furthermore, it is estimated that the average American throws away about 37kg/81 pounds of clothes every year. That equals a garbage truck fully filled with textiles and clothes being thrown into landfills every single second of the day, every year. 

If we tried to recycle all of our old clothes, about sixty percent can’t be, which is why they end up in landfills or burned. Many of our clothes are made with plastic. Some of the synthetic fibers in our clothes are called polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or most commonly known as polyester, nylon, acrylic and others. These fibers are made from crude oil, which makes them almost impossible to reuse in other ways — meaning they cannot be recycled or composed. Numerous eco-friendly fibers that could replace plastic in clothes. With no restrictions or laws, the fashion industry continues to actively participate in using plastic fibers. 

Peacenik buys fabric scraps to dye and prints each piece to order…check!


If everyone who reads this makes one change in how they buy clothes, the world would be a better place.

Check out Suay LA. They put together some cool apparel from unsold clothes

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