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May 17, 2022 2 min read

Our industry is hanging on by a thread. The textile trade cannot continue producing, manufacturing, and processing what it currently does. It is beyond unsustainable, it's terminal.

Unsustainable materials

In 2015 alone, polyester production for textiles released the same amount of CO2 as 185 coal fired power plants. However, the impact of plastic based fibres isn’t limited only to their production - polyester takes over 500 years to decompose. In addition to this, 176,500 metric tons of synthetic microfibers - chiefly polyester and nylon - are released annually simply by wearing these fibres. We are now eating, drinking, and breathing the toxic moult of our clothes. We must stop to consider the impact of production, and the cost for not only our planet, but our people too.

Unsustainable practices

It takes 2,700 litres of water to make a conventional cotton T-shirt. That's enough water for one person to drink for over 2 years. This is just one example of an unsustainable making practice. Your favourite pair of jeans also used so much water that you may as well have turned on the shower and let it run down the drain for 21 hours. Yet 1 in 4 people don’t have access to safe drinking water… Water, energy, and labour come with a cost. That cost shouldn’t be our population.


Clothing production is the third biggest manufacturing industry after the automotive and technology industries. Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. Each year, more than 100 billion garments are made, about enough for 13 new garments for every single person on the planet. Overproduction is the impact of fast fashion and a profit over planet attitude. This means that an excess of raw materials are processed compared to the demand of the market for garments, thus leading to an excess of waste.

Volume of waste

84% of our clothes end up in landfill - that equates to 92 million tons of clothing a year buried underground globally. We are far outweighed by our own waste. This waste will also likely take up to 500 years to decompose, meaning that not only will our clothes outlive us, they’ll also outlive the next 20 generations. Waste such as this is toxic to the environment as it releases microplastics into the atmosphere, as well as accumulating in spaces which would otherwise be nature’s.

Here at Garthenor, we’re proud to work with a completely biodegradable fibre, using totally sustainable processes to produce a climate positive product. But this isn’t enough. The textile industry is the 4th most polluting industry in the world and something has got to change. The cost of fashion shouldn’t be our planet.

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