We are all guilty of one too many online clothes orders during lockdown. Whether it being out of boredom or simply to lift our moods, online shopping has seen a surge during the global pandemic. This may be beneficial for our growing wardrobes, but not so good for the catastrophic amounts of plastic waste produced.
Let's take an example: we order our some jeans from ASOS, in multiple sizes of course; as we cant try before we buy anymore. Oh, and we cant resist a few items from the sale, too. Upon arrival a few days later, each item of clothing is individually wrapped in plastic along with the plastic bag holding everything together.
This may seem a small amount of plastic wastage per clothes order but it adds up to masses of plastic pollution entering our oceans and environment collectively. Not to mention the copious amounts of clothing that are returned. There is a dark side to the online shopping industry that is polluting our planet.
Amazon's not so amazing plastic wastage
The fashion industry is a major contributor plastic pollution causing catastrophic environmental impacts. One of the biggest online retailers - Amazon - is known for its overuse and wastage of plastic packaging. A recent study by Oceana found that Amazon generated 465 million pounds of plastic packaging waste in 2019 and the number of air pillows alone could circle the globe 500 times.
"The amount of plastic waste generated by the company is staggering and growing at a frightening rate." Matt LittleJohn - Vice President at Oceana
Amazon is one of many online retailers that many people rely on for a quick turnaround, but let's take a few more examples to really paint an image of the extent of unnecessary plastic wastage as a result of online shopping.
Fast fashion needs a makeover
The growing increase in fast fashion retailers such as PrettyLittleThing and Missguided all contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution and we need to make a change. The fast fashion industry has blown up during the global pandemic and people are buying and throwing away clothes at a much faster rate, most of which are barely being worn.
How does this contribute to plastic pollution? Not only are we wasting plastic packaging, we are also throwing away clothes that are not environmentally friendly to make room for the new trends. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of a times a garment was worn before it was thrown out decreased by 36%. £140 million worth of clothing is sent to landfill every year in the UK, and more than half of clothing given to charity shops or textile recyclers ends up in landfills or is incinerated. Instead of ditching our old clothes in favour of spending more money and creating more pollution, we should up-cycle and save the planet as well as our bank cards. Win-win!
How can we say no to plastic pollution?
It's clear that the fashion industry needs to make a change for the sake of saving our planet - time is running out and as individuals, we can all contribute to make a collective impact. We should encourage people to buy less and shop sustainably. Plastic Freedom are one of many companies that aim to reduce the amount of plastic wastage in the fashion industry - they offer 3000+ plastic free products in one convenient place. They are an example of how one person can make a big impact. From starting in a bedroom and selling out, the Plastic Freedom warehouse was born.
"This just shows the power we have to really make changes; I started Plastic Freedom with a very limited number of products and now I have so many companies approaching me about stocking their plastic free items that we have a warehouse full!" https://plasticfreedom.co.uk/pages/about-us
Roland Mouret is yet another example of one individual who has made a great impact on the removal of plastic from the fashion industry. Hangers are the fashion industry's version of the plastic straw. In some cases they can contain up to seven different types of plastics, and can take 1000+ years to breakdown in landfill. Mouret wanted to find a solution to this, and created a fully sustainable hanger.
"I think it's stronger than a normal hanger, but at the moment, if you break it, it's completely recyclable... You can have something that becomes so circular that nothing goes back to the sea." Roland Mouret
Despite his best efforts to make a change in the fashion industry, he offered over 300 free hangers to most designers at London Fashion Week and only 20% accepted them. There is still change to be made and it starts with a change in attitude. Start your change today...