Countless New Collections Contribute To Ocean Pollution

Posted by on Aug 26, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

Countless New Collections Contribute To Ocean Pollution

The majority of plastics used on a daily basis end up in the ocean, but you probably didn’t know that a great percentage of that plastics is from our clothes. Today, plastic materials are used more and more in the fashion industry, including polyester, nylon, acrylic and other synthetic fibers. 

These are all cheap and versatile and it’s no wonder that about 60 percent of our clothes’ materials include these. To make things worse, these fibers contribute to ocean plastic pollution worldwide because they can even leach into the environment just by being washed.

Changing Fashion Trends Causes More Problems

Trends change incredibly fast these days. One day it’s this trend that’s extremely popular, and even just after a few months, a new one arrives and people disregard old clothes and get on to the new ones. This is great for fashion companies and their profits, but there are some severe costs to the environment.

What these changing fashion trends then cause is enormous amounts of clothes and plastic being thrown away – either on the landfills or it ends up in the ocean. As the founder of a fully sustainable sportswear brand Rockay, Daniel Chabert, states, over 80 million tons of plastic is thrown into the ocean every year, but those big fashion industries can clean them up by recycling the plastic from the ocean or before it reaches the ocean and immensely helps the environment. This should be done on a regular basis and repeatedly since plastic from clothes can also cause some damage. Rockay works intensively on plastic pollution solutions

Below is a visual representation of ocean pollution and all the waste that ends up in the waters.
 
Rockay

Infographic source: Rockay

How Change of Trends Causes Trouble

It’s a good idea for the fashion industry to start collecting plastic and turn it into new clothes, but this should be done repeatedly. However, there might be a downside to this as well. Once again, the changing trends cause more trouble and damage because plenty of clothes is thrown away. 

Materials used in clothing, such as nylon, polyester and acrylic are petroleum-based and the majority of them ends up in the landfill. Since petroleum takes a lot of time to decompose, it takes such materials and clothes decades to decompose. What is more, and even worse, clothes on landfills are often burnt, which causes massive air pollution as well.

Once clothes run out of trend, they end up in landfills or the ocean, and the water consumption and chemicals used to produce new trendy clothes cause even more damage. 

In the majority of countries that have massive textile productions, the untreated toxic wastewater from the factories are dumped directly into the rivers and oceans. Such substances, including mercury, lead, and arsenic, are extremely harmful to the aquatic life and health of millions of people. 

In order to prevent such things from happening, consumers should buy clothes that are made in countries with stricter environmental regulations for the textile industry, such as the USA, Canada and the EU. Additionally, switching to clothes made out of natural materials is an even better idea, because such clothes don’t require chemicals to be produced. 

So, it is safe to say that change in trends requires more clothes to be made each season, while the “unused” clothes are not properly recycled. Manufacturers should use that disregarded clothes and turn them into new trends and bring recycling to another level. 

What We Can Do About It

It seems like there’s a simple and easy solution to all this – just buy fewer clothes or natural fibers. However, this option might be too expensive and it shouldn’t be a luxury to be environmentally conscious. Plus, synthetic clothing is often more affordable. So, the solution needs to be accessible for everyone, but you can’t expect everyone to do the same thing and wear organic cotton, hemp clothes or wool.

The solution actually needs to be more systematic, and the start can be our washing machines. Modern washing machines should be designed to reduce the emission of fibers into the environment. Also, textile manufacturers could design their fabrics to shed less to let out fewer toxins into the oceans. What is more, the clothing companies could find more ways to utilize their clothes, plus the consumers could be more mindful about their clothes, how they dispose of them and recycling could be brought to a higher level.

There’s a long path ahead to learn about saving the environment and how to preserve it. Being aware of the harmful and toxic materials is a start, and there should be a collective effort to minimize the negative effects for the sake of our resources, wildlife and water surfaces. 

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