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Labfresh study ranks Italy and UK amongst Europe's worst fashion polluters

A new research by sustainable fashion brand Labfresh ranks Italy as the worst textile polluter in Europe with the UK coming not far behind in fourth place. The study gathered data on a range of indicators, including the total amount of textile waste, spending on new clothing per person, and yearly exports of worn clothing, to rank European nations based on the sustainability of their fashion industries.

Italy was branded the biggest polluter, with the country producing 466 tonne of textile waste every year. Italians also spend a proportionately large amount on new clothing each year, at £920 per person.

The UK came in as the fourth worst offender, although its total textile waste is less than half that of Italy, at 206 tonne per year. Brits spend a similar annual sum on clothing to their Italian counterparts, at £980 - despite the country's GDP per capita being 25 per cent higher. In contrast, a Mediterranean nation also produces the least textile waste, with Spain discarding just under 99 tonnes of textiles a year. That's 2.1kg per person, compared to the UK's 3.1kg.

Of the 3.1kg of annual textile waste each Briton produces, only 0.3kg are recycled and 0.4kg are reused. However, 0.8kg are incinerated and 1.7kg are disposed of in landfill.Only Austrians spend more a year on clothes than Brits, totalling £1,082 per person. The study also looks at where the clothing industry has the greatest share of gross domestic product (GDP). The UK came in third, at 3.1 per cent. Portugal claimed first place, at 4.1 per cent.