How Fast Fashion Can Harm the Environment

Jan 15th 2019

Why Organic and Sustainable Clothing is Good for Us and the Planet

We all want our clothing to make us look and feel good. A great outfit says a lot about who you are, and can also give you that extra bit of confidence for the day. However, fashion feels even better when you know that it’s not harming the planet or anyone on it. That’s why organic and sustainable clothing is great, not just for you but also for the earth.

How Fast Fashion Can Harm the Environment

It’s so easy to shop online or in-store without ever realizing the true cost of the clothing we buy. Non-organic and non-sustainable fabrics use an enormous amount of resources, and also contribute to polluting plants, land and waters. Not only do these toxins harm the environment, but they can also negatively impact on workers and wearers as well.

It uses huge amounts of natural resources.

The vast majority of clothing on the market today is non-organic and non-sustainable, and much of it is made from cotton. In order to produce just one non-organic cotton t-shirt, over 710 gallons (1,700 liters) of water is required. Other non-sustainable fabrics are also extremely heavy on the use of natural resources. By contrast, organic materials like organic cotton and hemp use much less.

Chemicals are harmful for the environment, workers, and wearers

It’s not just the amount of water being used that damages the planet, but also the harmful chemicals used in production as crops are sprayed with harmful pesticides and insecticides. In fact, studies estimate that a staggering 25% of all insecticides and 10% of all pesticides used worldwide are used in the production of clothing.

Perhaps you’ve felt itchiness or redness from wearing some clothes in the past – this could well be due to chemicals that are still in the fabrics. Studies have found chemicals including lead, which is a neurotoxin, in clothing and accessories from popular, well-known brands.

These chemicals also have a devastating effect on our environment. A lot of the chemicals get swept away from the crops by rain, dumping them into waterways and other fragile environments. One study showed that in the US alone, more than 67 million birds are killed by pesticides annually. The impact is likely to be even more devastating in developing countries as the regulation is often less strict.

As well as the environment, workers are also directly affected by the chemicals as they breathe them in on farms or in factories. In many developing countries, workplace safety laws are very weak, and many people put themselves at risk of serious illness or even death in order to support their families. Even still, they are often paid extremely poorly and made to work long hours to produce clothing that is sold worldwide.

With this kind of impact on ourselves, others and the earth, it’s hard not to look at fast fashion in a new, negative light.