How Textile Waste Impacts Our Environment

We make a conscious effort to do what we can in preserving what is left of our natural environment and resources. Some ways on how we do it are to recycle or reprocess glass and paper, reduce or avoid the use of plastic, and bring our own eco-friendly reusable grocery and produce bags when we go to our local market, and to create customized t-shirt press to spread environmental awareness.

The t-shirt industry is clearly a booming business where 2 billion tees are sold every year around the globe. This is also true with jeans selling about 520 million pairs in the US alone. However, little that we know, our daily outfits such as our favorite jeans and tees cost the earth about 2,200 gallons of water. The manufacturing of textile made out of cotton utilizes a hefty quantity of our earth’s resources like energy and water. The process can also be very dangerous to our air and soil since it discharges damaging pollutants like paraffin and pesticides.

Nonetheless, the demand to reduce, limit, and control waste from manufacturing textile is a serious matter since one t-shirt uses up to 700 gallons of water and a single pair of jeans need about 1,500 gallons.

The cotton production utilizes 25 percent of the globe’s herbicides and pesticides. The residuals of the pesticides spewed on cotton as well as the substances applied to dye, lighten, and stonewash garments contaminate the water channels and the air we breathe.

We probably think that purchasing shirts and jeans made from organic cotton resolves and eliminates the textile waste problem. This isn’t entirely the case. Potassium permanganate is one of the fading agents used in the production of clothing. The waste generated is every so often discharged into canals that are likewise used to water local farms. These chemical compounds sterilize the soil and ultimately destroy the seedlings. Companies who create “green jeans” don’t use insecticides to propagate organic cotton, however, the majority of jeans made with organic cotton still go through the process of using the usual colorants and chemicals, therefore still endangers the environment as stated by OnEarth.org.

What we can effectively do to help control waste from textile and safeguard our environment is to purchase used clothing from thrift stores. Aside from this, rather than just throwing away your clothes that are evidently still in good condition, salvage them or donate them. People tend to throw away 70 pounds of clothes every year that would only end up in landfills to deteriorate which takes a very long period of time.

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