What To Know About Textile Pollution This Earth Day

April 22, 2021

Happy Earth Day! Here at TTM, we put a premium on ensuring this beautiful planet remains a healthy and vibrant place to live - in fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons behind the work we do. When the planet suffers, so does every person living on it - and members of marginalized communities are especially vulnerable to environmental changes. With rising sea levels and record warm temperatures, we simply can’t afford to put our global carbon footprint on the back burner. That’s why it’s so important to us to support ethical and sustainable manufacturing.

The Cost Of The Textile Pollution

Working alongside the textile and fashion industry, we’ve seen firsthand just how much harm it can do when manufacturers don’t prioritize sustainability. Fashion produces 20% of the world’s wastewater, and 10% of global carbon emissions. A garbage truck worth of textiles is dumped into a landfill or burned somewhere on the planetevery single second. By 2050, the textile industry is set to take up 25% of the planet’s carbon budget.

One huge culprit is textile dying. Making just one pair of jeans requires about 2,000 gallons of water. Now imagine how many thousands of pairs of jeans and other clothes made every single day around the world - remember, this is a multi-billion dollar industry. Some manufacturers without sustainability standards dump leftover dye chemicals into bodies of water, leading to environmental damage likerivers literally turning black, and creating a laundry list of health issues for the communities that live near them. 

Whenever the environment suffers, there is a human cost. Those toxic rivers are just one example of the many environmental consequences that cause health issues and sometimes even make areas unlivable. Impacts of climate change, like droughts, desertification, sea level rise, and other natural disasters are alreadydisplacing around 20 million climate refugees from their homes every year - and unfortunately, that number is only expected to rise.

We Can Buy The Change

As overwhelming as this all may sound, there are so many things we can do to change the industry for the better! More consumers than ever are concerned about where their clothes come from. A whopping 90% of millennials are willing to stop buying from a company with bad environmental practices, and 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product that comes from a sustainable brand. Together, we can channel that energy into a more sustainable industry and a better world.

Each of us can vote with our dollar by purchasing clothes that come from ethical suppliers. We can champion GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) manufacturers, avoid unsustainable fast fashion, and creatively upcycle clothes we no longer wear. With every choice and purchase we make, we can show the industry that consumers prefer sustainable manufacturers with transparent supply chains. Every choice we make as consumers, no matter how small it may seem in the moment, makes a big difference. Every purchase is a chance to use our voice!

Clothes made of sustainable materials, in safe conditions, are more than just clothes. They are an indication that the people who made those clothes did so without having to risk their health for a paycheck. They’re proof that widespread unregulated pollution isn’t the only path to success for clothing companies. And above all, they’re a sign that the health of our planet does not have to be incompatible with great style. And we're more than happy to make an Earth Day toast to that.

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