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 130,000 tons of textile waste in 2013.
- 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
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