Pollution from the textile sector has a significant impact on the environment for several very straightforward reasons. The quantity of clothing manufactured yearly has more than quadrupled since 2000, topping 100 billion pieces for the first time in 2014. Clothes are among the most frequently purchased goods in the modern economy.
When it comes to textiles, 2015 saw a worldwide use of 95.6 million metric tonnes. The fashion industry may have a significant and negative impact on the environment due to its sheer size.
Water, air, and solid waste contamination are primarily attributable to the textile industry.
The production of textile fibers throughout the world has increased by a factor of more than four in the last two decades. Reaching a new record of 111 million tonnes in 2019 with further growth expected until 2030. The current consumption paradigm and this increase in production both lead to enormous amounts of textile waste. In Spain alone, estimated that 900,000 tonnes of clothes have thrown away every year.
Lower than desired recycle rate
Recycling rates for textiles are poor. Just around thirteen percent of garbage is recycled after being used. While the rest has shifted to landfills or incinerators. Most recycled materials have turned into lower-quality products like rags, insulation, or filler material. Only around 1% applied to create brand-new fiber. To meet the new standards, it won’t be enough just to ensure the selective collection of textile waste. Instead, technologies must be developed that enable the recycling of the fibers. With the value of the materials preserved for as many cycles as possible.
Excessive water consumption (water footprint)
The production of textiles requires a substantial amount of both water and land for the cultivation of cotton and other fibers. Although the whole economy of the European Union used 266 billion cubic meters of water in 2017. The global textile and apparel industry utilized an estimated 79 billion cubic meters in 2015. Moreover, people estimated that it takes the equivalent of a person’s freshwater consumption over two and a half years to produce just one cotton T-shirt.
Use of Chemicals
Fabric preparation, bleaching, and finishing are only a few of the many stages in textile production where chemicals are used. Although there have been significant legal and regulatory restrictions placed on the use of permitted chemicals (such as Europe’s REACH legislation). The pollutant load of these compounds remains a substantial concern, especially for water treatment. One kilogram of clothing has thought to need between 1.5 and 6.9 kilograms of chemicals. Indicating that the quantity of chemicals used is more than the amount of textile product itself. Thus, it is critical to developing technology that reduces the number of chemicals used and the number of pollutants released in effluents.
Causes and effects of water contamination and microplastics
It is estimated that around 20% of global drinking water pollution is caused by textile dyes and finishing agents. Microfibers from synthetic materials have washed into the oceans at a rate of around half a million tonnes per year. One wash of polyester clothing may release as much as 700,000 microplastic fibers into the environment. Some of which may make their way into the food chain.
GHG emissions (carbon footprint)
A greater percentage of greenhouse gasses have imitated by the fashion industry than by international aviation and shipping combined, according to some estimates (10%). According to the European Environment Agency, each individual in the EU produced around 654 kg of CO2 emissions through textile use in 2017. AITEX makes all of its technical talents and resources accessible to the textile industry to help lessen these impacts. Creating R&D initiatives, and obtaining certifications that certify outstanding practices. Also, getting specialized training in sustainability and the circular economy helps businesses save costs and implement new sustainable business models.
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