The UK Wants to Know Why Fashion is So Wasteful

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On Friday, June 22, the House of Commons environmental audit committee put forth an inquiry that will explore the carbon impact, natural resource usage, and water footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle and supply chain.

“Fashion shouldn’t cost the Earth,” said Mary Creagh MP, chair of the committee. “But the way we design, make and discard clothes has a huge environmental impact. Producing clothes requires climate-changing emissions. Every time we put on a wash, thousands of plastic fibers wash down the drain into the oceans. We don’t know where or how to recycle end-of-life clothing.”

Much of the inquiry is due to the overwhelming evidence that the fashion industry has developed unsustainable practices. “Fast Fashion,” or the development of cheap, trend-driven clothing created rapidly, has become a catalyst for textile waste and pollution.

An estimated 300,000 tons of fashion waste goes straight UK landfills each year, about one garbage truck of fashion waste is incinerated or landfilled every second worldwide, putting the annual cost to the UK economy of landfilling clothing and household textiles at about £82m.

“Our inquiry will look at how the fashion industry can remodel itself to be both thriving and sustainable,” said Creagh.