The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world (behind oil production). 

As recently stated by an article published by the Guardian, “the fashion industry is now a major contributor to climate change and pollution, accounting for as much as 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions”.

Common clothing fibers such as polyester, nylon, acrylic and modacrylic, are synthetic fibres and are made from manmade materials such as plastic, rubber, metal, glass and carbon fibre.
They are cheap to buy, but they come with a cost.

Additionally, roughly one out of three of all clothing produced is thrown away yearly!

All in all, these statistics paint a pretty bleak picture.
But is there a way to reverse this trend?

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion clothing is designed to be trendy, cheap and disposable. This style of clothing is usually produced in mass volumes and sold at very low prices.

The term fast fashion dates back to the early 20th century when women began wearing dresses made of cheap materials such as cotton and synthetic fibers. In the 1970s, designers began producing clothes in smaller sizes and less expensive fabrics. Fast fashion became popular during the 1990s when retailers introduced “fast fashion.”

Fast fashion companies are now becoming increasingly popular due to the rise of social media platforms like Instagram. People post pictures of themselves wearing items from fast fashion brands on Instagram, which helps companies sell more products

Why is the Ocean important for the Planet?

The ocean provides us with oxygen, food, water, and energy.  An important function of the ocean is to also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the air thanks to the process of photosynthesis. There is still so much we don’t know about the oceans, but one thing is sure:  there would be no life on earth without them.

However, thanks to ever-increasing pollution, the oceans are becoming less hospitable to humans than they once were. Human pollution is causing climate change and, as a direct result, the oceans have been warming up. This has caused a number of problems for marine ecosystems, including coral bleaching and fish deaths.

In this article, we will look at how fast fashion is affecting the oceans and what you can do about it.

Why is Fast Fashion Bad?

The rise of fast fashion has been attributed to the fact that it is cheaper to produce than traditional high-end brands. Additionally, many companies use mass production techniques to make clothing faster and easier to market.

Companies are able to sell products more frequently because they do not have to invest much money into creating unique styles, they use machines to make cheaper garments using harmful, low-quality materials and chemicals. Production is also often outsourced to developing countries, where labor costs are lower, and human rights are too often overlooked.

Consumers are attracted to fast fashion because it is cheaper than buying high-quality items. However, fast fashion isn’t good for our environment, nor does it help workers make a living wage that can sustain their families and the economy.


The average person wears about seven pairs of pants every year. That adds up to around 100 billion items. But it doesn’t take into account the number of shirts, socks, underwear, coats, jackets, shoes, etc., that we wear.

According to the World Bank, there are roughly 7 billion people living on Earth today. If each person wore one pair of jeans per day, that would add up to over 100 billion pieces of clothing annually. However, because most people don’t buy brand-name clothes, the actual number could be much higher.

The clothing industry is one of the biggest contributors to environmental problems around the globe. In fact, it contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined. And according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, textiles are responsible for about 3% of total global carbon dioxide emissions. Not only that, but the industry produces up to 30% of waste in developing countries.

In addition to being environmentally unfriendly, textiles also add to our consumerism problem. Around 30% of what we wear ends up in landfill or incinerators. This is why there are initiatives like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, which aims to reduce the amount of waste produced by the apparel industry.


One-third of all clothing sold today is synthetic.

The fashion industry uses synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, rayon and lycra to make underwear, socks, bras, tights, swimwear, outerwear and bedding, just to name a few.
Synthetic fibers are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. They don’t biodegrade and can take hundreds of years to break down.

These materials release toxins into the environment and ultimately into us.

Synthetic textiles are the primary source of microplastic found in oceans.

Microplastics are very small particles of plastic that today are found in water, soil, air and even snow. They are ingested by marine animals like whales, dolphins, seals, turtles and seabirds. Once eaten, microplastic fragments pass through the animal’s digestive system and reach humans via the food they eat.

In 2017, the Fashion Revolution Day campaign launched a call to action to ban the use of synthetic fibres in clothing. This led to the launch of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in 2018.


The textile industry is one of the largest polluters of water worldwide. In fact, according to the World Bank, the production of textiles accounts for about 20% of global industrial wastewater discharge. This is because most processes used in the manufacture of textiles require large amounts of water.

In addition to being harmful to humans, textile waste contains chemicals such as dyes and heavy metals that cannot be recycled or reused. These pollutants end up in waterways, and ultimately our ocean, where they cause serious damage to ecosystems.

Textile manufacturers are now looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. One way is to use natural and recyclable materials. Another option is to produce eco-friendly products without the use of toxic substances.


The fashion industry generates a lot of greenhouse gas emissions, both during the manufacturing process and while being worn. In fact, it accounts for about 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. A number that increases every year.

A UN Climate Action statement indicates that “increasing greenhouse gas emissions have affected the health of the ocean – warming and acidifying seawater – causing detrimental changes to life underwater and on land, and reducing the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide and safeguard life on the planet”.

There are many ways to reduce this impact, including making clothes out of recycled materials, reducing waste, and promoting sustainable practices. 


About 8 million tonnes of microplastics end up in our oceans yearly, with microfibres making up over 80% of all plastic pollution. And because we can’t see them, we don’t know how much damage they’re causing.

Microfibers are tiny pieces of plastic that are shed during washing. When they end up in waterways, they become part of the food chain, where fish eat them and humans consume them via seafood. As a result, we are exposed to harmful chemicals like phthalate and BPA.


The water footprint of the textile industry is enormous. In fact, it accounts for almost one-third of total freshwater withdrawals worldwide.

Most cotton grown around the world is used to make clothes and cotton production requires huge amounts of water. In fact, it takes about one gallon of water to produce just one pound of cotton and about 10 gallons of water per day during the entire growing season.

This makes up about 40% of global agricultural water usage and, according to the UN World Water Development Report 2018, there are some major problems with our current methods of growing cotton.

Cotton is a thirsty crop. Cotton needs a lot of nitrogen fertilizer to grow well. Nitrogen is needed to help the plant photosynthesize — the process where plants convert sunlight into energy. Unfortunately, nitrogen runoff is a big contributor to pollution in waterways, along with fertilizers and pesticides used by farmers to maximize production.

The problem is that about 50% of the water used to grow cotton ends up in the oceans, polluting the environment and disrupting the ocean’s delicate ecosystem. 

So what does this mean for us? Well, we could start thinking about ways to reduce our reliance on cotton. For example, we could switch to making textiles out of recycled materials. Or we could look into sustainable alternatives to nylon, such as bamboo.

Organic and natural fibers are much better choices for clothing. They require less energy and fewer chemicals. They don’t pollute our waterways like synthetic fabrics do.


Textile waste is a big issue around the world. In fact, according to the World Bank, textile waste accounts for about 20% of global solid waste production. This includes clothing, shoes, bedding, towels, carpets, and upholstery.

The true cost of fashion is way beyond what you pay for it. Not only does it take resources to produce clothes, but there are many hidden costs associated with producing and disposing of them. For example, each pair of jeans uses approximately 10,000 gallons of water during production.

Recycling textiles is good, but it isn’t enough. We need to change our relationship with fashion. If we want to make a difference, we must start thinking differently.


Chemicals in our clothes cause health issues ranging from cancer to birth defects. They can even disrupt hormones in unborn babies.
And it turns out we’re exposed to them every day without realizing it.

There are 11 toxic substances commonly found in fast fashion clothing. These include flame retardants, plasticizers, phthalate esters, formaldehyde, lead and mercury. A study conducted by Greenpeace International found that 63% of items tested contain one or more of those chemicals.

The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to avoid harmful exposures. You need to wash new clothes before wearing them, use low heat settings during ironing, and choose natural fibers over synthetics whenever possible.

Ditch fast fashion: How can we make a difference?

We all have the opportunity to reduce the pollution in our oceans by simply modifying our shopping habits. Buying less clothing will help, but the quality is more important than quantity when it comes to Fashion. 

You can help by buying fewer fast fashion clothes and investing in high-quality, consciously made garments instead. If you must shop for new items, look for brands that use organic fabrics and avoid synthetic materials. Also, look for fair trade labels on clothing items; this means that workers have been treated fairly by the companies responsible for making their clothes.

Second-hand shopping is also an excellent way of reducing your carbon footprint while keeping your wallet full. Vintage or thrift stores are fun places to find unique pieces of clothing at affordable prices! 


If you want to save some cash, start buying fewer things. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that people who bought less often spent about $2,500 less per year than those who shopped frequently. And according to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Americans are spending more than ever on clothing — up nearly 10% since 2010. But there are ways to cut down on shopping without sacrificing style.


The demand for sustainable clothing is growing rapidly. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they’re looking for companies that make products responsibly.

According to GlobalData, there are now over 3 million certified sustainable fashion brands worldwide. And we’re seeing an increasing number of retailers selling sustainable clothing. 

But what does that mean exactly? What makes a brand sustainable? And how do you know whether a particular product is ethical?

Green Marketing and Green Washing are something to be very aware of today! Always check brand reviews, certifications and clothing tags before purchasing.


According to the EPA, Americans produce about 2 billion tons of garbage each year. And most of it ends up in landfills where it stays buried for hundreds of years. But did you know that there are actually many ways to recycle your clothing? Here are four tips to help you reuse your old clothes without wasting precious resources.

1. Donate Your Clothes

If you’re looking for a good cause to donate your clothes to, consider donating them to charities like Goodwill Industries International. These organizations provide jobs for those living in poverty and teach them life skills while giving them access to job training and educational programs. 

2. Turn Old T-Shirts Into Pillows

You can use old t-shirts to make pillows. Simply cut off the sleeves and sew the neckline shut. Then, add stuffing inside the pillowcase and stitch the opening closed. This makes a nice decorative accent for your couch or bed. 

3. Make New Ones From Old Ones

Upcycling your clothes is fun and creates new garments that are truly unique for you. Look up patchwork techniques online or on Youtube, there are so many things you can create!


There are many ways to recycle used clothes. If you’re looking for a quick fix, swapping clothes is a great way to save money. You can find people willing to trade their items for yours.

If you are looking for a dress for a special occasion (something you know you will not wear for a long time) consider renting! There are companies like Rent the Runway where you can rent designer clothing for a fraction of what it costs to purchase new.

But if you want to take things one step further, consider buying secondhand clothing. Buying used clothing online or at your local thrift store can help keep the environment clean and keep the economy circular.


Washing your clothes too often can increase pollution and also wear down fabrics very quickly. You don’t have to do washing every day! And when you do, use cold water and eco-friendly detergents. We have covered all the tips on how to extend the life of your clothes in this article.

Final Thoughts: We can help save our oceans by stopping Fast Fashion!

I hope you enjoyed this comprehensive article about the effects of fast fashion trends on our oceans. Once again, when we talk about saving our Planet, it all comes down to simple and mindful steps we can all take if we decide to live a more mindful life.

For some more inspiring info, we invite you to check out ten tips to extend the life of your clothes to make your favourite garments last forever!

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