According to research carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), textile waste has increased by 811% from 1960 to 2015. The EPA’s statistics estimate that textile waste weighed in at a hefty 16 tons in 2015, which is substantially higher than the 1.76 million recorded tons in the 1960’s.
The EPA’s data also reveals that a huge 66% of this waste is currently being dumped in landfills. More than a dozen categories were analysed in the figure, with the largest increase in waste resting on plastic, which has risen by 8,746% since 1960. Rubber and leather, common materials used in footwear and clothing, have also shown a significant increase at 361%.
Textile waste is, of course, generated by both sides of the market – the consumers and the brands that produce the products. What is needed now is for companies to be instrumental in setting the tone for ethical practises. With sustainability the key topic across the board for all industries, many labels have announced new initiatives in order to support eco-friendly efforts.
Last year, Burberry came under fire after it was unveiled that the company had burned millions of dollars worth of unsold stock. It has since announced that it will put an end to this process, in addition to no longer using real fur and committing to becoming carbon neutral by 2022.
In May, Nike launched its ‘Circular Design Guide’ in order to promote sustainability in the industry and address the growing impact of climate change. Meanwhile, UNIQLO parent Fast Retailing vowed to cut down on single-use plastic by 85% by 2020 and Zara announced its own plans to use 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025.
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