How does fast fashion impact the planet?
When we talk about saving the environment, we often think about conserving wildlife, saving bees and donating to charity. But what about something as simple as fashion and clothing? Can the £2 bargain top you brought from Primark last week really be causing climate change? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
What's the issue?
When it comes to consumerism, the main problem is buying way more low-quality items than we need. Buying things makes us feel good and our endorphins shoot up every time we make that glorious purchase. And it feels even better when it's a bargain! But what is that doing to our planet?
Well, in order to buy a lot of items, they need to be manufactured. Manufacturing costs invaluable environmental resources. According to the House of Commons Audit Environmental Committee, “Clothing production is the third biggest manufacturing industry after the automotive and technology industries. Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined” (2019). If you think about the obnoxious effect on climate change from one economy flight and then imagine that fast fashion manufacturing is considerably worse, you can begin to see the size of the problem.
So, what can I do as a consumer?
It's tricky, but we need to find more eco-friendly ways to satiate our need for new clothes.
First stop? Charity shops. We absolutely love a charity shop; everything is cheap, second hand, and it contributes to a good cause! Of course, you can recycle your old clothes there too to reduce your carbon footprint. Just bear in mind that lots of donated clothing actually never makes it to the shelves, so it shouldn't be your first choice for recycling.
This is where second-hand selling apps come in! Depop, eBay, Wallapop - all of these great sites allow you to make some money back on what you've sold, but you know the clothing is going to someone who actually wants it, rather than being binned by a charity shop who can't sell it.
Finally - try not to shop first hand. We know it's hard... but you can do it!