As fast fashion rises in popularity, so does waste. In 2020, textile waste was a huge contributor to landfills. Here are a few data points about textile waste around the world:
- Americans throw away 14 million tons of clothing each year, a volume that has doubled since the 1990s
- Making one cotton shirt requires 2,700 liters of water
- Textiles can take over 200 years to decompose in landfills
- In 2018, 17 million tons of textile waste went to landfills
- 84% of clothing ends up as waste
As you’ve probably deduced, the clothing industry is extremely unsustainable and is negatively impacting the environment. It is more important than ever to be mindful of where your clothes are ending up. When throwing out old clothes, out of sight is not out of mind. Where are your old clothes going?
You can help promote sustainable practices by supporting brands who are actively fighting to reduce textile waste. Look out for brands using recycled materials, participating in trade-in programs, and don’t have a rapid turnover rate in their clothing runs.
Another way to help reduce textile waste is to recycle your own clothing! Give your clothes a new life by donating them instead of trashing them, or by turning them into something you’ll actually use. Need some ideas? Check out this post on recycling old t-shirts.