You hear all the time that there is a plastic crisis and that we, the human race, are damaging the planet with it. But how much do you really know?
Plastic’s one of the main things that is destroying our oceans, and because of that, fashion is destroying our oceans.
How much is fashion contributing to pollution?
Fashion is a massive factor when it comes to pollution and it’s only getting worse. An Ellen MacArthur Foundation Report states that fast fashion is; “Creating 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually”.
The report also expresses that the situation is only going to get worse before it gets better. Each and every second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is burned or sent to a landfill.
Fast fashion is made to be basically thrown away. It keeps up with the latest trends, encouraging everyone to buy items and then when the trend dies out, the clothes are abandoned.
This needs to stop as it is destroying our oceans, rivers, and even contributing to climate change, which within our society is already a major issue.
There is hidden plastic in our clothes
It’s not only fast fashion that is adding to the worry and damage of the oceans, but it’s also what is actually hidden in our clothes.
Most of us don’t even think about what our clothes are made of when we buy them, but maybe we should start. There is actually hidden plastic in the majority of our clothes.
Plastic usage of polyester and nylon started in the 1950s and has increased ever since, it is mostly found in fast fashion items. In 2007, they overtook cotton as the world’s most dominant fibres.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most common fibre that is hidden in our clothes that is associated with plastic. It’s made from crude oil, which is also used to make plastic bottles.
Thinking of all the plastic that our clothes contain, it really should make us think twice when buying clothes. It should also make us rethink the way we get rid of clothes, and convince us to take a more sustainable approach.
What is plastic doing to our oceans?
There are over five trillion pieces of plastic known to be in the ocean, and 8 million tons gets dumped into the ocean every year. It’s not just fashion products that damage our oceans, but 10% of it, is made of fishing materials that have been lost.
The harsh conditions of the ocean make the plastic break down and fall deeper into the ocean, causing it to invade and destroy even more habitats.
This, of course, leads to the photos that we see on the news that break our hearts. Sea life entangled in all of this plastic waste, selfless animals that have to suffer because of the behaviour of the human race.
Another devastating impact plastic is having on sea life creatures is that they are ingesting it, after mistaking it for food.
Plastic pollution has been found in every corner of the globe, even in Antarctica. It is almost beyond our control.
How we can make sure we are doing all we can to save our oceans
There are several steps we can take to save our oceans, starting with fashion. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The major step forward, that anybody could take, would be to look into sustainable fashion. Make sure you are buying recycled or second-hand clothes, so then no fabric or plastic is getting wasted.
Buying from sustainable brands is one way that can massively help. This would be encouraging circular fashion which is a huge positive and something that Stella McCartney herself supports.
Even just researching a brand and checking the labels of your clothes for different fibres is a step in the right direction to help to protect our oceans.
Protecting our oceans is so important and it can start with just a double-check of the labels in our shirts, then making sure we reuse, rather than throw away because it’s important to remember that protecting our oceans is more significant than looking good in new trendy clothes!