[page under review]
Consumption and waste ..
Did you know that clothing accounts for about 10% of annual carbon emissions?
Many of us may not be aware of the full extent of the clothing sector’s environmental impacts. For example:
- The dyeing and treatment of textiles causes 20% of industrial water pollution globally.
- Up to 20 – 35% of ocean microplastics are from synthetic clothing; and washing clothes releases half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles.
- It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton shirt – enough water for one person to drink for 2 ½ years.
- Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. Discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years.
Time for a change?
As Coronavirus plunges the fashion industry into crisis, could now be the time to change our approach?
From charity shops and renting clothes, to swishing, repair and upcyling, new trends are emerging as older – and sometimes forgotten – attitudes to clothing enjoy a renaissance. But will these changes be enough? There have been calls for more radical changes to the industry, including wholesale system change in line with the principles of a circular economy.
Webinar on Sustainable Fashion
To explore these questions further, we were joined in June 2020 for a webinar with Kim Polgreen (Director at Leadership in Global Change and Sustainability Educator) and Stephen Cawley (former Head of Sustainability at John Lewis). You can watch the recording of the webinar and access the presentations, read a summary of the event and explore links to further information and resources here.
According to Greenpeace, a truckload of plastic enters the ocean every single minute and UK supermarkets produce 800,000 tonnes every year.
Where do we start?
In 2018, LCON launched a campaign to help cut plastic use. As part of this we produced a leaflet setting out 10 ‘challenges’ to help us as individuals reduce plastic consumption. You may be doing some of them already. Find out more and download a copy here.
Cut it out!
Going completely ‘plastic-free’ is a real challenge but there’s a great deal that we can all do to cut our use of single-use plastics by half or more over a month. Here’s some more thoughts and ideas:
• Surfers Against Sewage are very active on tackling plastic waste – there’s lots of useful information here.
• Friends of the Earth are running a Plastic Free Fridays programme – with lots of useful tips and ideas.
• Other groups are active on cutting plastics in Oxford – find out more at the Oxford Plastics Action Facebook page.
Recycling the plastic we use is also very important. You can find a list of plastic items Oxford City Council can and can’t accept for recycling on their website.