The fact of the matter is that fast fashion is putting the future of our planet at risk.
The fashion industry has provided us with top trendy pieces. These pieces are constantly creating turn over and are consistently cheaper for consumers to choose from. As a result, there is a huge environmental price that is being paid every time we make a purchase.
According to The Waste and Resources Action Programme, a charity that works to improve resource efficiency, approximately 140 million dollars worth of clothing goes into landfills each year.
It is this kind of misuse and abuse that can spiral into wasting money and perfectly reusable materials. It also wreaks havoc on our earth as toxins leak and slowly seep into our planet. Most of which are microfibers that enter our waterways and contribute unwanted methane emissions.
So, how do we skip out on the synthetics?
Well, we can start by identifying the materials that pose the biggest problems. Laura Balmond, project manager of Make Fashion Circular, states that synthetic fabrics are usually produced from oil and account for 63% of the material put into textile production.
One of the most popular of these poisons is polyester. PP Polyester has gained quite the popularity in the fast fashion world. It is important to note why this material has built such a name for itself in the first place.
Polyester is popular mainly because it’s so easy to maintain. After washing It is easy to get wrinkles out of polyester fabric. Polyester also dries quickly even in damper climates. It is the go-to material of the “to-go” fast fashion world.
Manufactured as a cheap alternative to natural fibers, polyester is usually a poor quality fabric. As a result, you only got a few wears but many tears, pun intended. However, due to the poor quality, you have wasted your money and contributed to waste in the environment.
As a petroleum-based, non-renewable resource and carbon-intensive fiber. Polyester is a “quick fix” solution to staying on top of “fast fashion”. Totally lacking the sustainability to stay in your wardrobe, all while being unsustainable for the environment. More than 70 billion barrels of oil is used each year used to produce polyester. It is non-biodegradable and even after it breaks down it persists in the ecosystem. This can lead to it becoming one of the biggest sources of micro-plastic pollution in the ocean today. With each wash, up to 1,900 of these pesky micro-plastic fibers shed off clothing. These microfibers leak into our water systems, polluting our water, the soil, oceans and causing some serious health hazards for us along the way.
Every purchase and use we make of a polyester garment will affect us and the environment. The poison of polyester and other synthetic fibers, such as acrylic, nylon, and acetate can wreak havoc on our minds, bodies and our planet.
In fact, through extensive research, there is serious evidence that shows these materials can cause immune dysfunction, hormonal dysregulation, increased risk of various cancers, respiratory infections, skin problems such as dermatitis, and even contribute to certain behavioral problems and reproductive issues.
This is all due to the different types of chemicals used in the dying process, bleaching process, as well as in the manufacturing of polyester and similar synthetic materials. Too often these toxins are not completely removed and they can find easy entry into our bodies, sinking into our skin.
So, when you are out shopping, please, please, please AVOID polyester and the other imposter names it’s labeled under. Some of those ‘hidden’ names are: terylene, dacron, lycra, and vycron, just to name a few of its under-cover alternatives.
Although it may be hard to completely avoid and break the “Fast Fashion” habit, there are some action steps we can take to reduce harm to ourselves and our planet:
- Wear More but Buy Less
The most sustainable garment is the one you already own. Try mixing and matching with what you’ve already got. If you are going to buy new, invest in clothing that is of high quality and buy from companies that are of high values so you can stay sustainable and stylish. These will be quality pieces that you will want to wear item more often and you only had to make one conscious and cost-effective purchase.
- Read the Label!
Avoid polyester and synthetic fibers alike by simply checking the label! Remember that these petroleum-based fibers take less water and land to produce than natural ones such as cotton, but they emit more greenhouse gases. So do not add them to your wardrobe and remove them, if at all possible.
- Go Organic
The more we as a society demand organic, the more the fashion industry will have to comply. At the end of the day they will still want to make sales. Let us make a change by demanding what we and our planet deserves to stay healthy and sustainable.
- Be Aware of Your Washing
Last but not least, let’s be more aware of our washing habits. The average load of laundry in the washing machine has the potential to produce and release as many as 700,000 harmful fibers into the environment. If you’ve only worn something once, maybe think twice before popping it in the machine every time. It also never hurts to wash at a lower temperature, using less energy.
With that being said, l say we get a little more aware about synthetics that can cause serious damage to not only ourselves but our environment. I say it’s time that we make sustainability a lifestyle and not just a fashion choice.
Because after all, there is nothing better than feeling confident in the clothing we wear all while being conscious and confident in the choices we make.
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And please, drop a comment letting me know some other ways you avoid *sneaky* synthetic materials.