Although it does not cost us much to purchase clothes from fast fashion brands, our planet is paying the ultimate price for the production of clothes from fast fashion brands. The textile industry produces approximately 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere every year, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017; The World Bank, 2019).
Our research shows that there are three main types of greenhouse gases produced by textile production;
Carbon is the most common element for life on earth. Carbon Dioxide, however, is the primary gas emitted through human activities. While carbon dioxide is naturally present in our atmosphere as part of the Earth’s carbon cycle, human activities add more CO2 to the atmosphere (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2021). CO2 is one of the greenhouse gases that absorbs radiation and prevents heat from escaping our planet. Thus, when there’s ‘too much’ of CO2, weather patterns are disrupted and the global temperature increases.
According to Business Insider (2019), 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry. Textile production has been estimated to produce 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year.
Methane is a type of greenhouse gas that is produced during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. It is also produced by livestock, agricultural practices, and the decay of organic waste in landfills. Methane is also generated in landfills through waste decomposition and in the treatment of wastewater (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2021).
When clothes go through the decomposition process in a landfill, it releases a harmful greenhouse gas known as methane, which is also known as a contributor to global warming (Freeman, 2016). Methane is 28 times more efficient in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, which is another greenhouse gas that prevents heat from leaving our planet (IPCC, 2014).
A product resulting from agriculture, fuel combustion, and wastewater management, Nitrous Oxide accounts for 6.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Similar to carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide is also naturally present in the atmosphere as part of the Earth’s nitrogen cycle. However, nitrous oxide molecules have the ability to remain in our atmosphere for 114 years, and the impact of 1 pound of N2O is almost 300 times much more powerful than the global warming impact brought by carbon dioxide. (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2021).
Another contributor to the emissions of nitrous oxide is industrial production, including textile production. Polyester, a type of plastic, is made of crude oil. The extraction and processing of the raw material requires plenty of energy. In 2014, 46.1 million tonnes of polyester were produced, which releases 655 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Additionally, while cotton is an agricultural crop that has a lower carbon footprint than polyester, fast fashion companies are also contributing to the emission of nitrous oxide. The large amount of clothes produced by fast fashion companies means that a large amount of cotton must be produced. Unfortunately, cotton requires fertilizers to grow, and fertilizers release nitrous oxide into the air (Petty, 2019).
How DULO strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Each one of our dress shirts and polos are manufactured using processes that are mindful of the environment. DULO uses 100% biodegradable Amni Soul performance fabric, premium epic coats EcoVerde threads from recycled polyester, and natural Corozo Wood buttons.
The Amni Soul performance fabric is manufactured using processes that are mindful of the environment including recycling of process water and treatment of greenhouse gases before they are released into the environment (Coats, 2021).
The EcoVerde thread is a 100% recycled premium polyester sewing thread that has been engineered to have low repair rates, low returns to manufacturer, and low irregularities. Corozo Wood buttons are made of corozo, a 100% natural product which is also known as tagua. It is a species of tropical palm found in northwest South America. The process of manufacturing Corozo buttons is sustainable as corozo seeds are only collected once they fall naturally from the tree. Hence, the production of Corozo buttons does not harm palm trees and is environmentally friendly (Corozo Buttons, 2021).
- Consider quality over quantity when it comes to buying clothes. Before buying new clothes, perhaps consider if it’s highly necessary to have or not.
- Discover the ways to move towards a circular economy. Such as,
- Repair your clothing. This way you save money, you get to increase your sewing techniques, and you are not contributing to the excessive amount of clothes that is purchased every year. And, you can get creative too.
- Donate what you no longer use. It never hurts to donate clothes, someone else might love or need just as much as you did.
- Buy second-hand clothing. There are plenty of shops and businesses that sell second-hand clothing, so they won’t be that hard to find. Plus, second-hand clothing are also affordable.