Fast fashion is a problem. Buying habits are a huge part of the issue. With clothes being cheap and accessible, it’s easy to buy into the trend of constantly wearing something new. From supporting sustainable brands to shopping second-hand, there are many ways to make a difference.
Fast fashion is a popular term for designing and producing clothing quickly and cheaply to keep up with the latest trends.
While the convenience and affordability of fast fashion may be appealing, it’s essential to be aware of its negative consequences, such as the following fast fashion environmental impact.
The average person in Australia buys 27 kilograms of new clothing and textile products each year, more than double the global average.
Most clothes (60%) are made from synthetic fibres like polyester from fossil fuels.
According to recent Statistics, in 2015-16, Australians sent 304 million items of clothing to landfill. That’s about 30kg per person – enough to fill 930,000 garbage trucks!
Only 15% of textile waste is recycled in Australia; the rest goes to landfill or is incinerated. The second most polluting industry in the world is the fashion industry; the first is oil.
How Buying Habits Contribute To Fast Fashion
Every time you purchase an item of clothing, you contribute to the demand for more clothes. The more clothes in demand, the more factories will produce, and the faster they will produce them.
There are a few main reasons why buying habits contribute to fast fashion:
1) People generally want to be fashionable and wear the latest styles. As soon as a new style comes out, people want to buy it immediately. This creates a lot of demand for clothes, leading to factories producing more clothes faster.
2) Many people only wear an item of clothing a few times before getting rid of it. This might be because they are tired of the style or it no longer fits them. Either way, there is a constant need for new clothes since old ones are continuously thrown out.
3) Clothes are often very affordable, making it easy to buy new items constantly. Many stores have sales where you can buy clothes for next to nothing. This encourages people to keep buying new clothes instead of wearing their old ones until they fall apart.
How Fast Fashion Affects The Environment:
The production of synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon, releases harmful chemicals into the environment, polluting the air, water, and soil.
The farming of cotton also has a fast fashion environmental impact. Cotton is a water-intensive crop that takes a lot of pesticides and fertilisers to grow. These chemicals can run off into waterways and contaminate them.
The manufacturing process of clothes also uses a lot of energy and resources. It takes a lot of water to dye fabrics, and all that energy used to power factories results in greenhouse gas emissions.
How Does Fast Fashion Impact Workers?
In many cases, workers in fast fashion factories are paid less than minimum wage and often work long hours to make ends meet. This can lead to dangerous and unhealthy working conditions and widespread labour exploitation.
So buying from fast fashion brands, you contribute to a system that exploits workers and harms the environment. But there are some things you can do to help slow down fast fashion:
-Buy from ethical brands that treat their workers fairly and pay them living wages
-Buy second-hand clothing instead of new items
-Support local businesses that produce sustainable clothing
In conclusion, knowing how your buying habits contribute to the fast fashion industry is essential. By being mindful of the brands you support and the materials used in the clothing you purchase, you can assist in slowing down the fast fashion industry and making more sustainable choices.