Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Sustainable materials for the fashion industry?

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries of all: it produces microfibres and chemicals and uses huge quantities of water while making 150 billion new articles of clothing every year. The environmental load caused by the fashion industry causes inestimable damage, and the best way to counteract that is to choose clothing made of more sustainable textiles. But where are they?

When we consider sustainable fashion, we must think in terms of complex systems in which social and economic considerations are just as important as the environmental perspective. For instance, choosing a T-shirt made of organic cotton is in vain if its production consumes massive quantity of water and if the garment itself is made using exploitative labour. Very few brands are able to take all three of those considerations into account; they usually focus on only one and disregard the other aspects.

A 2014 publication about sustainable fashion contains recommendations issued by the non-profit organisation MADE-BY, which classifies raw materials into 5 categories based on their environmental impact.

  • Class A
    recycled cotton, recycled nylon, recycled polyester, organic hemp, organic linen
  • Class B
    Tencel (by Lenzing), organic cotton, cotton from certified ecological farming
  • Class C
    industrial hemp (artificial fertilisers may be used at the beginning of the growing cycle), nettle cloth, PLA (a biodegradable thermoplastic usually made of plants high in starch)
  • Class D
    newly made polyester, acrylics, modal
  • Class E
    industrial cotton (artificial fertilisers may be used at the beginning of the growing cycle), newly produced nylon, rayon/artificial silk, bamboo viscose, wool, viscose

The publication also notes that currently the most durable garments are made from high quality leather and premium quality wool, but those are unfortunately very expensive and rare products.

The sustainability of fashion is determined by a complex system of social, economic and environmental considerations Photo: Shutterstock

Source: Holy Duck!

Further information: Sustainable fashion: New approaches

Shaping attitudes the Danish way: free kayaking in return for picking up waste

Protecting our waters against pollution is in all our interests. It is no accident that an increasing number of initiatives are trying to engage society at large in taking part in the protection of the environment. The Danish NGO GreenKayak, for instance, offers free kayaking in locations around Northern Europe and all they ask in return is that kayakers should pick up waste they find in the water along the way.

The psychology of the waters

Many studies have shown that time spent in nature, fresh air and a green environment has benefits not only for our bodies but also for our souls and minds. In addition to mountains, forests and meadows, waterfronts are particularly attractive destinations.

50 foods that could save Earth

From cacti through algae and vitamin-rich flowers to drought-resistant root vegetables, Knorr and WWF have compiled a list of 50 nutritious foods whose consumption would be more advantageous for human health, while their cultivation would benefit our planet relative to our present dominant food sources.

Climate change on the catwalk

A number of fashion designers have reacted to climate change and its consequences with their collections shown at the Paris Fashion Week.

The five steps of saving water

Clean water is a great treasure, yet we waste a lot of it for no good reason: for instance, a dripping tap can waste up to 75 litres per day. It is our obligation to save water: it leaves more for others, and we can also save money.

How to avoid polluting the Earth with our clothing

The fashion industry is one of the most harmful for the environment: it wastes water, pollutes the air, encourages overconsumption, wastefulness and also produces massive quantities of waste. The damage caused by the monthly replacement of fast fashion collections on the shelves of fashion stores would fill a very long list. But how can we counteract it?

Overeating fattens ecological problems, too

Most people are aware that any unnecessary calories we ingest are detrimental to our health, but few consider that food consumed in excess of our real needs – and the energy, water and other resources used for its production – is of little utility, it is practically wasted.

New perspectives for the feast table – or what on earth is insect marketing?

Food waste is a growing problem in developed countries. Massive amounts of perfectly edible food is thrown away because of merely aesthetic blemishes. The psychological factor behind the phenomenon is disgust, which may apply in relation to edible insects, as well. That attitude ought to be reconsidered from a climate protection perspective.

Washing tips to reduce the quantity of microplastics

In recent years, a new concept related to environmental pollution has gained wide-ranging recognition: microplastics. The term denotes pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm resulting from the break-up of plastic items. During washing, clothing made of synthetic fibres sheds many microfibres that pollute our waters and damage our environment.

Are drastic lifestyle changes required to protect the climate?

A BBC article suggests that people’s personal responsibility doesn’t stop at reducing car traffic: eating and shopping habits must also be rethought.