Clothing is the second most polluting industry in the world. It is both a health and an ecological disaster on a global scale. Needless to say, we would avoid many of our favorite brands if we’d take a closer look at the industry’s usual practices and at the exact composition of our clothes. The sad reality is that many of our clothes contain toxic products that are dangerous to our health and that have irreversible consequences for the future of our planet. Natural fibers are much more sustainable than synthetic fibers emantaing from petrochemicals. However, even clothes that come from natural sources can be harmful when conventional dyes are used for instance (currently the most widespread on the market). The latter contain heavy metals and many other toxic products for our health. Without mentioning the fact that natural fibers can have a significant impact on pollution if they are grown with pesticides and other chemical fertilizers.

To make your shirt non-iron for example, it had to be treated with products containing formaldehyde, a substance classified as “known human carcinogenic”. Unfortunately, it is not possible to make our clothes ever more beautiful and functional without a price: our health and the one of those who make our clothes.

Unfortunately, the end consumer is often misinformed. So, for all of those who would like to know a little more about sustainable fashion and understand the huge difference it makes, below you will find key information that could help you.

 

Advantages of organic tissues :

  • Fibers are grown without genetically modified organisms, pesticides or chemical fertilizers in odrer to preserve farms, animals, water quality and prevent soil degradation
  • Organic textiles do not contain toxic residues (allergens, carcinogens) that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and released into the air, water or soil
  • Factories meet high social responsibility criteria: safe working conditions, respect for workers and adequate wages
  • Additional investments are made exclusively by farmers to protect the environment, maintain soil fertility, preserve biodiversity, and recycle water
  • Organic agriculture uses less water and produces up to 60% less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than conventional crops

 

Advantages of low impact fiber reactive dyes :

  • The absorption rate of low impact fiber reactive dyes is at least 70%, which means less runoff from wastewater in streams than conventional dyeing processes
  • They save energy, salt and alkali as they are applied at relatively low temperatures (30°C compared to the 100°C required for conventional dyes)
  • The dyeing cycle is shorter than for other dyeing processes, which means less water, salt and chemicals used (conventional dyeing consumes around 11 billion liters of water each day)
  • Water can be recycled and wastewater is treated before being discharged into streams

We wear clothes day and night throughout our whole life and yet we don’t understand half of the chemical products they actually contain, neither do we know how they arrived in our dressing room. We live in an unscrupulous consumer society that overconsumes and where everything is bought at far too low prices to match environmental standards and for products not to be harmful to humanity.

Due to lack of transparency and misinformation, consumer ignorance doesn’t allow this industry to grow and change its processes. Yet it is the end consumer who has the key to develop a greener and more viable textile market. We are therefore convinced that involving and informing more people via articles like this will allow them to adopt a more sustainable consumption in buying less and better.

So, if you too want to participate in building a fairer society and a cleaner planet, think more ethical and more ecological when you consume fashion: favor clothing locally produced with natural organic materials that use reduced impact dyes.

Author Delphine

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