“The only real way to prevent ocean plastic from becoming a massive ecological catastrophe is to massively reduce plastic production, which, unless we act, is set to quadruple over the next few decades.” Greenpeace
While most of us, individuals, companies and governments are trying to fight plastic pollution, one area is often being missed: clothing.
60% of the clothes worldwide are made of plastic -aka. polyester, nylon, acrylic… all of which are participating in global pollution just by existing and… being washed!
In 2017, the textile industry as a whole produced more gas emission than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. And on its current course, the fashion industry will use over a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. Also not to mention the toxic chemicals that -in most cases- ends up in oceans.
…to the actual use…
Polyester is the most popular fabric used for fashion. But when these garments are washed in domestic washing machines, they shed microfibers that make they way to our oceans and ultimately up the food chain to fish and shellfish eaten by… us.
To fight this, the brand Guppyfriend developed a washing bag that aims to reduce micro plastic pollution for less than £30: available here.
Breaking news! Plastic never biodegrades. The piece of cloth you’ve trashed will, in best case pill up in landfills, in worst one, kill another gorgeous sea turtle. Sorry, a little too rough maybe?
About Vegan Clothing
A lot of brands have removed animal fur from their products but simply replaced it with plastics! I truly support vegan causes but I also feel like we need ensure that the alternative we’re choosing are as friendly to all life — and we know plastic isn’t.
Vegan leather is often made by combining a fabric backing with a plastic coating. The plastic used is either polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyurethane (PU), which quoting -Greenpeace again- is the ‘single most environmentally damaging type of plastic’.
Faux fur is made from various materials including blends of acrylic and modacrylic polymers which is slightly better for the environment than its real counterpart. Although, since it is mostly used by fast-fashion outlets, there is little second-hand market for faux fur, meaning it will often end up in landfill and as you must know by now, won’t decompose.
Fishing nets and discarded plastic are finding their way into wardrobes around the world thanks to a rise in the number of fashion designers using materials made from recycled ocean waste. Brands including Gucci, Stella McCartney and Adidas are increasingly partnering with organisations such as Parley for the Oceans – which raises awareness of the destructive effect of ocean plastics – and sourcing materials regenerated from companies such as Aquafil, the textile manufacturer that transforms ocean waste into sustainable materials such as Econyl.
Previously a niche area of the fashion industry, advances in technology have enabled the production of recycled fashion at scale, said Eco-Age’s Harriet Vocking. However, it is worth mentioning that the micro plastic issue is the same for both virgin plastic and recycled plastic clothes.