Environmental Impact of Textiles
Every year, we generate hundreds of millions of tons of used textiles and shoes in the world.
In the U.S., over 15 million tons of textile waste is generated each year.
In the city of Shanghai alone, we generated approximately 150,000 tons of textile waste in 2015.
The pesticides that farmers use to grow cotton harm wildlife, contaminate land and water, and often end up in the food we eat.
The World Bank estimates that almost 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles.
China is the largest producer of apparels and textiles in the world (up to 65%); millions of tons of unused fabric at Chinese mills go to waste each year.
Old clothes that we throw away (more than 90%) take up precious space in landfill sites, which is filling up rapidly, while incineration of these clothes increases air pollution, even though most of that is recyclable.
In landfills, the dyes and chemicals in fabric and other components of clothing and shoes leach into the soil, contaminating both surface and groundwater.
Meanwhile, decomposing clothing releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas and is a significant contributor to global warming.
Benefits of Clothing Recycling