Who doesn’t love a good deal on fashion? Stores such as H&M and Forever 21 have been on the forefront on fast fashion for the last decade. However, with low prices comes high environmental consequences. Not only do the fast fashion pieces we buy end up in landfills but now we also know that every time they are washed, these poor quality fabrics release microplastics into our water systems.
Recycling your clothing doesn’t really work with fast fashion clothing. Many of these items are so poorly made that just after a few washes they are unable to be worn again. The stitches come apart, the color fades, random holes appear, etc.
What can you do to help?
Buying second hand and avoiding fast fashion retailers is essential. There are also many new and upcoming brands that are built around sustainability and use recycled materials to create new clothing. However, recycling clothing isn’t enough. H&M even admits that only 0.1% of their recycled clothing are converted into a reusable textile.
Supporting ethical and sustainable retailers will help change the fashion industries pollution only if we are buying less but better quality clothing.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 84% of unwanted clothes in the United States in 2012 went into either a landfill or an incinerator.