Why ethical textiles are necessary in Fashion Industry

Tags - #Vegan_Blog

Consequences Of Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. Not only does it dry up water sources, pollute rivers and streams but also dumps 500,000 tons of microfibers into the ocean each year. This number is equivalent to 50 billion plastic bottles.

These numbers are only expected to go up with time. With consumerism on the rise, we can see more unsustainable practices in the market which can wreak havoc on the environment on a global scale. As a consumer ourselves we need to demand a more sustainable way of production. Here are some of the things which you should know about the fashion industry.

How non-vegan textiles cause harm to the planet and animals

Environmental impact

We may not think much about the consequences of our choices or the choices of most other people around us but, it does have a big impact on the planet. We have started to consume more fashion garments with time, partly this is due to fast fashion and quick fashion trends that keep changing every day. This consumerist attitude leads to quickly discarding old clothes for new ones on a regular basis.

Do you know that 85% of all textiles made go to dumps each year? This number includes the textiles that the fashion industry burns as leftover stock.

Fashion industries are also the second-highest consumer of water with around 2,000 gallons of water being required for producing a T-shirt. It is also one of the biggest polluters of the oceans with waste like dyes and microplastics. With as much as 35% of microplastics ending up in the ocean causing massive amounts of damage to sea animals.

Impact Of Leather, Fur, And Wool Industry

Leather Industry

  1. Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals.

  2. Most of the leather usually comes from India and China.

  3. Along with cattle, many other animals like sheep, dogs, and cats are killed for their skin in china.

  4. There is virtually no way to tell where the leather comes from, It can be a cat, dog, or a cow.

  5. Turning skin into leather requires dangerous chemicals, including salts, formaldehyde, and coal-tar derivatives which are detrimental to the environment.

  6. Leather-tannery workers have 50% greater instances of getting leukemia than an average human.

Fur Industry

  1. Fur-bearing animals are usually slaughtered by electrocuting anally and genitally so as to not damage the fur.

  2. 85% of the fur industry’s skin comes from animals held captive on fur factory farms. The animals are crammed together in filthy wire cages. Many of these animals are beaten, electrocuted, and sometimes even skinned alive.

  3. China the biggest fur exporter supplying millions of dollars worth of garments every year has the most relaxed rules when it comes to animal abuse as they have no penalties.

  4. 1 Billion rabbits are killed each year so that their fur can be used in clothing.

  5. In China, there’s a thriving cat and dog fur industry. Cats and dogs are bludgeoned, hanged, and sometimes even skinned alive. Their fur is often mislabeled and exported from China to unsuspecting consumers.

  6. Millions of pounds of feces are produced annually by U.S mink farms alone. One of the most dangerous components of this waste is nearly 1000 tons of phosphorus, which is dumped in nearby rivers and streams.

  7. The fur industry is ranked as one of the five worst industries for producing toxic-metal pollution in the world.

  8. Although most of the animals killed for fur are raised on fur farms, millions of raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, beavers, and other fur-bearing animals are killed every year by trappers.

Wool Industry

  1. Like other industries sheep go through similar abuses for producing wool, Being kicked, punched, stamped in order to restrain them from shearing in common in the industry.

  2. Lambs are usually castrated without any painkillers and have their tails cut off.

  3. The wool industry is only second to beef industry in terms of producing methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Over the last 250 years, the concentration of methane in the atmosphere has increased by 151% worldwide.

  4. Like the industries above sheeps also pose a big environmental risk to rivers and streams. The enormous flocks of sheep bred by the wool industry produce a huge amount of manure which pollutes land, water and air.

The Vegan Alternatives?

Now that we have seen the kinds of issues these industries pose it’s time to see the alternatives that can change the world. But first it’s important to understand that changing the source of textiles won’t change much if we don’t change the habits our consumeristic behavior.

We should also think about why most people buy things like, Leather, Fur, Swede, Wool? It’s not because it is a need but because we simply fail to make the connection that this was ones a living breathing animal with feelings and desires just like any other sentient being. Making that connection is what creates the change. Most of us are not animal abusers and we surely don’t support these kinds of things being done to the animals. After understanding this we can make better decisions.

With that out of the way. Here are some of the best alternatives -

Organic Cotton

Cotton is one of the best materials that we can use for making garments. The problem with cotton is its demand. With such a high demand it’s hard to produce the kind of cotton that can be made sustainably. Although there are sustainable mills of cotton.

What’s so good about organic cotton? The fact that it’s made without using toxic dyes, finishing materials and isn’t treated with chemicals make it appealing enough to be used instead of non-organic cotton.

Organic cotton is also better for the environment with up to 20% less water used than their traditional peers means, less impact on the environment. As an organic material no fertilizers or pesticides are used in the production process making it way better than other textiles.

Like Rayon which was the first generation of these celluosic fibers. Modal and Lyocell are second and third respectively. Unlike many other man-made fiber modal and lyocell are not synthetic. Derived from wood pulpΒ  and more recently from bamboo.

Making modal and lyocell does involve chemicals but this chemical process is closed loop, which means that chemicals used in the processing are captured and reused. The small amount of chemical that does get discharged is considered non-hazardous. The finished textiles are biodegradable and also take well to natural dyes. This eliminates the need to use harmful chemical dyes.

As Modal and Lyocell are manufactured from renewable crop, it is considered carbon neutral if it is taken from a responsibly managed source.

Linen (Flax)



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