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Used clothes add to sustainability woes

Overconsumption and the inevitable disposal of unwanted clothing has become a worrying global problem. In many cases, these clothing are unnecessarily thrown away. Instead, it could be repaired or recycled. One truck of textiles is thrown away every second globally.

Materialistic values and a widespread desire for having new styles have reduced the functional value of clothing, making it easily disposable. A staggering 100 billion items of clothing are being produced annually, and 50 per cent of fast fashion pieces are disposed of within a year.

While consumers have grown increasingly concerned about where and how garments are made, there are still serious concerns over its environmental impact and contribution to climate change. Fashion is deemed to be one of the world’s most polluting industries – from toxic chemical use to water pollution and waste. Some 35 per cent of the global total of microfibers in the oceans comes from clothes and textiles.

By 2050, it is anticipated, the fashion industry will use up 25 per cent of the world’s carbon budget. Recycling is problematic environmentally. Recycling is energy intensive and may require use of further virgin materials. While it resolves some of fashion’s sustainability issues, it does not adequately address the problem that consumers buy too much and that the average number of times a garment is worn has fallen by 36 per cent since 2000.

 
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