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Thrifty Fashion Blog

The Cost of Fast Fashion: Water

Written by Swoop’s founder, Olivia Todd

The fashion industry is a major contributor to water pollution, as the production of synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon requires large amounts of water and chemicals. According to a report by the United Nations, the fashion industry consumes about 79 billion cubic meters of water annually, which is equivalent to about 26 trillion gallons. This is enough water to meet the basic needs of every person on the planet for a year.

The production of synthetic fabrics, which make up a significant portion of the clothing produced by the fast fashion industry, is particularly water-intensive. It takes about 2,700 liters of water to produce one kilogram of synthetic fabric, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund. In contrast, it takes about 1,500 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton, which is still a significant amount of water.

In addition to the water consumed during production, the fashion industry also generates significant amounts of wastewater. Many fashion companies discharge this wastewater into rivers and lakes, which can lead to water pollution and harm to aquatic life.

The fast fashion industry’s impact on water resources goes beyond just the water it consumes and the wastewater it generates. The industry is also a major contributor to climate change, which is causing changes to global water cycles. These changes can lead to more frequent and severe droughts and floods, which can further strain water resources.

So what can be done to reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion on water resources? One solution is to support fashion companies that are committed to sustainable practices, such as using water-efficient production methods and recycled materials. Consumers can also support fashion companies that use natural fabrics like cotton, which are less water-intensive to produce than synthetic fabrics.

Another solution is to buy second-hand clothing, which helps reduce the demand for new clothing and minimizes the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry. Consumers can also choose to buy from companies that use eco-friendly production methods and materials, such as organic cotton and natural dyes.

In addition, individuals can reduce their own water footprint by washing their clothes less frequently and using eco-friendly laundry products. Finally, consumers can choose to invest in higher-quality clothing that will last longer, rather than constantly buying cheap, trendy items that will quickly wear out.

By making sustainable choices and supporting fashion companies that prioritize the environment, we can help reduce the impact of fast fashion on water resources and protect our planet.

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© 2023. Swoop